Preliminary Prospectus

DEFINITION of 'Preliminary Prospectus'

A first draft registration statement filed by a firm prior to proceeding with an initial public offering of securities. The document, filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, is intended to provide pertinent information to prospective shareholders about the company's business description, management, strategic initiatives, financial statements and ownership structure.

BREAKING DOWN 'Preliminary Prospectus'

The SEC requires a preliminary prospectus to be printed with red ink on the left side of the cover; as a result, the document has been nicknamed the "red herring".