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Introduction to 10 Biggest IPO Flops in History

Vonage Holdings Corp. founder, chairman and chief strategist Jeffrey Citron celebrates his company's IPO with then-New York Stock Exchange CEO John Thain after the opening bell on May 24, 2006. The celebration wouldn't last long.

Richard Drew/AP Images

An initial public offering (IPO) is often described as a company's "coming out party." It's the moment when a successful, privately held business says, "Hey, world! Who wants a piece of the action?" If all goes well, investors scramble to buy the freshly minted stock, lifting the price through the roof and making lots of people happy -- by which we mean filthy rich -- in the process.

Then again, you can't really predict a party's outcome. What if nobody shows up? What if the caterer sneezes on the shrimp cocktail? What if the Jimmy Buffett cover band turns out to be the real Jimmy Buffett?

The same is true for IPOs. Sure, an IPO can bring an instant flood of capital, but it can also mean opening your company to greater public scrutiny, cranky shareholders and fickle market forces. For the following companies, their long-awaited IPOs proved to be DOA.

Read on to learn more about the 10 biggest IPO flops of all time.

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