Gone are the days when spanking-new Internet companies (whatever they are) offered shares to the public for the first time and then zoomed into outer space.

Today's Kraft (NYSE: KFT) initial public offering (IPO) is about a company known for enduring brands such as Velveeta, Oscar Mayer, and Kool-Aid. Its sheer size -- an estimated $8.7 billion -- may have you asking, what is an IPO? And if you're interested in Kraft -- long a component of Philip Morris (NYSE: MO) -- as a possible investment, should you invest at the IPO or wait?

The links below can offer you help with IPOs: What they are, how to evaluate them, and whether they are important events for investors.

Art of the Kraft IPO , by Rick Aristotle Munarriz
Kraft Foods goes public in a deal second only in size to last year's AT&T Wireless Group (NYSE: AWE) offering. While the food sector has been resilient through the past year of stock market weakness, this is certainly not reason enough to buy in. Philip Morris has good cause for the "Kraft Singles" move, but investors, as always, should proceed with caution.

Are Hot IPOs a Good Thing?  by Bill Mann
What did we learn from the IPO craze of 1999-2000? That an initial public offering is held to raise money for the company. Period. It's not some charitable event, some "let's give the common man some of our company" kind of largesse. Do you honestly think that companies want to deal with the likes of you and the level of reporting required by going public? No, they really don't, regardless of the irresistible charm you may possess.

The ABCs of IPOs: A Motley Fool Special Report
What are IPOs and why do they happen? How does an investor get in on one? What are new ways companies are issuing shares? 

Talk About IPOs
Join other Foolish investors who are talking IPOs on our initial public offerings discussion board.