Apax Sees 2x In IPO By Bankrate

Shares of Bankrate Inc., which publishes personal finance content online, rose in their stock market debut, according to sister news service Reuters, making a successful IPO for sponsor Apax Partners.

After spending the early part of the day in negative territory, Bankrate shares closed at $15.34, or 2.3 percent above their $15 IPO price in their first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. That price values the company at more than $1.5 billion; Bankrate was taken private for $571 million in 2009 by Ben Holding S.a.r.l, an entity owned by funds affiliated with Apax. Based on its debut price, Ben Holding and Apax have nearly tripled the value of their investment in about two years.

Ben Holding still owns just more than 70 percent of the company.

North Palm Beach, Fla.-based Bankrate collects and publishes rates and other financial data in areas including mortgages, car loans, banking fees and retirement savings. It began as a newsletter in 1976 and moved to the Web in 1996.

The company, whose main sources of revenue are advertising and lead generation, distributes its content to Web sites and print publications including CNBC, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In the three months ended March 31, Bankrate’s common stockholders lost $4.2 million on revenue of $99.1 million.

“The company’s trajectory is very good,” said Tom Evans, Bankrate’s chief executive, but he added: “We are thinking about what the value of the company is over time, not how it trades on the first day.”

(Clare Baldwin is a correspondent for Reuters in New York; additional reporting by Jennifer Saba.)