Float

When a company is floated, what is the correct word to describe that event? Obviously, it's a 'flotation'.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

When a company is floated, what is the correct word to describe that event? Obviously, it's a 'flotation'. But increasingly, that word has become just a little too formal for the modern world. CEOs nowadays prefer something snappier: 'We talk to bankers all the time, but we have no plans for a float', one told the Daily Telegraph recently. But while flotation means just two things - one involving water, the other involving companies - float is carried along on a raft of unhelpful associations. It refers, among other things, to the process whereby the value of one currency rises or falls against others; to an item of angling equipment; to a low vehicle used in a carnival or for delivering milk; to the sum of money used for small change on a market stall; and to that round thing inside your lavatory cistern. The only disadvantage of the more dignified 'flotation' - in use since the 1890s - is that it doesn't fit very well in a newspaper headline. But isn't that often an advantage?

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