DEFINITION of 'Laddering'
The promotion of inflated pre-IPO prices for the sake of obtaining a greater allotment of the offering. Laddering is an illegal IPO practice in which the underwriter engages in the sale of IPO shares to clients with the implicit agreement that more shares will be purchased post IPO, leading to big gains for both parties. Once the price increases a certain level, "insiders" then sell their shares and take their profits.
BREAKING DOWN 'Laddering'
An underwriter will push up the issue price of an IPO through promotion, in order to please the issuer and secure a larger allotment. By agreeing to allocate additional shares to choice clients, the underwriter and clients can make big gains on the IPO shares, while the firm offering shares in the IPO are happy with the underwriter for creating increased market value.