Investors sent data center design and operations company Switch Inc. stock up 21.9% in its first day of trading Friday after the third largest initial public offering from a technology company this year.
The Las Vegas-based company priced the IPO at $17 a share, higher than its expected range of $14 to $16 target, and sold at least 31.25 million shares, raising more than half a billion dollars at around a $4.2 billion valuation. Switch SWCH, +22.59% began trading Friday morning under the ticker SWCH on the New York Stock Exchange, and shares moved as high as $24.90, 46.4% higher than the issue price, before closing at $20.84. After Friday’s regular session, the company’s market capitalization was about $5.1 billion.
Switch ranks third in deal size for technology companies so far this year, behind Altice USA Inc. ATUS, -1.10% at $2.1 billion and Snap Inc. SNAP, +2.14% which raised $3.9 billion, according to Ipreo Capital Markets, a market intelligence firm. The Switch IPO was the 15th tech offering of the year, with a combined total of $8.6 billion raised, well ahead of 2016’s $2.9 billion, Ipreo reported.
Switch said it planned to use the proceeds from the IPO to buy out investors in Switch Ltd. and take control of that company though Switch Inc., which was just incorporated in 2017. The company owns data centers in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, as well as one in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A fourth data center is being built in Atlanta.
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Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that the company has been profitable in all but one quarter of existence, when it paid $27 million to unbundle its power use from Nevada’s grid. Switch had revenue of $318.4 million in 2016, up 20% from 2015, although profits fell more than 50% to $31.4 million from $73.5 million, largely due to the charge for unbundling power at its two Nevada facilities.
“We now live in a world that is being directed and powered by data: billions upon billions of transactions taking place in mission critical seconds,” Chief Executive Rob Roy wrote in the company’s S-1 filing. “Exponentially expanding data is being created in real-time, all the time. At Switch, we know what the value of data is and what its applied analytics require.”
A multi-class share structure will allow Roy to maintain control of the company he founded, as his shares will have 10 times the voting rights of common shares.