Tombstone (financial industry)

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Not to be confused with Deal toy.
Tombstone for the purchase of American Motors by Chrysler from Renault that was completed by Lazard in 1987

A tombstone is a type of print notice that is most often used in the financial industry to formally announce a particular transaction, such as an initial public offering or placement of stock of a company.

The Securities Act of 1933 required the publication of the tombstone advertisement to be printed in a newspaper and providing the barest of information on the transaction as the last step in the financial deal.[1]

This is done in a form that discloses the participants in a specified order according to their role in underwriting or brokering the transaction. The name comes from the type of advertisement used, a 'tombstone ad', so called because the simple, centered text style with large amounts of whitespace and few if any images or other adornments make them resemble tombstones.[2]

Tombstones ads are considered by the SEC to "condition the market" for the securities, and thus are an offer even though the notice may have not specifically describe the transaction.[3]

Among financial firms, and more specifically, the investment banking community, the term "tombstone" has come to be used as shorthand for a trophy or deal tombstone, also known as a deal toy.[4][5]

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s tombstones became a fixture within the culture of investment banking, both as a means of recognizing the work of its employees in successfully completing a transaction, and more importantly, and as a branding tool among the investment bank's clients.[6]


  1. ^ Geisst, Charles R. (2006). Encyclopedia of American business history. Facts On File. p. 380. ISBN 9781438109879. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Melicher, Ronald; Norton, Edgar. Introduction to Finance: Markets, Investments, and Financial Management. New York: John Wiley & Sons. p. 18. 
  3. ^ Tollefsen, John Jacob (August 2010). ""General Solicitation" under Federal Securities Laws". Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Dugan, Ianthe Jeanne (11 February 2009). "Another Wall Street Casualty: The Art of the ‘Deal Toy’". The Wall Street Journal. 
  5. ^ Valdmanis, Thor (16 February 2004). "Lucite monuments pop up to mark increase in mergers, acquisitions"". USA Today. 
  6. ^ Little, Katie (5 March 2013). "Wall Street ‘Deal Toy’ Indicator Flashes a Bullish Sign". CNBC.