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A person (or more often a merchant bank or issuing house who agrees to underwrite an issue of shares by a company. This means that in return for a commission he (or they) agree to take up a certain proportion of the shares if those shares are not subscribed by the public. The amount they agree to take up is very often related to the minimum subscription stated in the prospectus.

Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.