How a company gets to an Initial Public Offering (IPO)
Starts with hiring/partnering with investment banker. Usually “bulge-bracket banks” (really large ones), but sometimes “boutique banks” (smaller banks). After parnering and kickoff, due diligence to prepare for SEC S-1 filing begin.
During this process, only a “working group” is generally aware of the plans of IPO. There’s several compliance and financial audits take place, and there’s lawyers involved.
Once the S-1 is filed, a company is legally required to make a public announcement about the upcoming IPO.