Photograph by Loveguli — Getty Images/Vetta

It would be the year's biggest so far.

By Reuters
April 15, 2016

Exchange operator Bats Global Markets raised $252.7 million in its initial public offering on Thursday, seeking to list its shares on its own Bats BZX Exchange, as subsiding stock market volatility gradually opens the window for IPO hopefuls.

Bats priced 13.3 million shares at $19, the top of its previously indicated $17 to $19 range, a source who requested anonymity ahead of an official announcement said. Bats did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Market jitters and poor post-IPO performance had left investors weary of investing in IPOs so far this year, with the offerings of some small biotechnology companies being the only exception.

Recent indicators, however, have given reason to view IPOs in a new light. The Market Volatility Index, which measures investor nervousness began to dip below its warning threshold of 20 in early March. This week, it has floated around the mid-teens.

Follow-on offerings of publicly listed companies have also rebounded, demonstrating investor willingness to buy into new sales of stock.

Bats’ IPO benefited from the fact that its revenues are unlikely to be heavily impacted by fluctuations in the broader economy, enhancing its appeal in uncertain economic times.

Other companies currently marketing their IPOs include MGM Growth Properties LLC, a real estate investment trust backed by gaming and hospitality company MGM Resorts International Inc , and Dell Secure Works, a cyber security firm owned by Dell. Both IPOs are spinoffs from established companies.

To be sure, successfully pricing an IPO is only one part of the IPO test, and investors will closely watch to see how Bats shares trade in their debut on Friday.

 

The IPO is Bats’ second attempt at going public, after a series of glitches forced it to withdraw its IPO in 2012.

Selling shareholders include Bank of America Merrill Lynch , Citigroup, Knight Capital and Goldman Sachs.

BATS intends to list under the ticker “BATS.”

BofA Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are among the underwriters of the BATS IPO.

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