GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE:GDDY), the world's largest website registrar, made its stock market debut Wednesday with an initial public offering that values the company at $5.48 billion. Shares leaped more than 30 percent after the stock opened for trading at $26.15, and rose as high as $26.84, after being priced at $20 a share.
The company had priced its IPO at $20 per share Tuesday evening, above its previous range of $17 to $19 per share. The company raised $460 million as part of the offering.
GoDaddy's market value of more than $5 billion places the company in a range with companies like office supply retailer Office Depot Inc. ($5.02 billion), restaurant chain Domino's Pizza Inc. ($5.59 billion) and low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines Inc. ($5.63 billion).
The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company manages about a fifth of the world's Internet domains with around 13 million customers and nearly 60 million domains under its management. The company helps individuals and businesses set up Internet domains and offers website building, hosting and security and other services. GoDaddy lost $143.3 million in 2013 on revenue of $1.4 billion, and had a debt of $1.5 billion as of May 2014, according to its IPO filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Known for its racy advertising campaigns, the company has become a household name by sponsoring Nascar driver Danica Patrick and featuring her in some television ads. GoDaddy’s provocative Super Bowl commercials featuring scantily clad supermodels such as Bar Refaeli also helped propel its name recognition.
The company is the most notable technology IPO so far this year. In January, data storage provider Box Inc. (NYSE:BOX) went public. Box's stock opened above its $14 price range at $20.20 per share, and the company's market cap at the close of trading on Jan. 23 was around $2.8 billion. However, Box shares have lost more than 2 percent since its debut and traded down 3.8 percent Wednesday to around $19.
Founder Bob Parsons launched GoDaddy in 1997 as Jomax Technologies and first sought to take the company public in 2006. That IPO never happened because of unfavorable market conditions. In December 2011, private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, Silver Lake Partners and the venture capital firm Technology Crossover Ventures bought GoDaddy for $2.25 billion. The company filed for an IPO again last June.
Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup are leading the underwriting for the GoDaddy IPO.