Year of the Web IPO Continues: BankRate to Go Public

Meet BankRate Inc., a personal finance website operator taken private in 2009 in a $570 million purchase by private-equity fund Apax Partners. The company filed its IPO paperwork with the SEC in April and is expected to make its debut on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) next week listed under the ticker “RATE”. BankRate plans to offer 20 million shares to public markets and latest pricing estimates are pegging shares to list at $14-16 dollars a piece. Lead underwriters on the deal are Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), and JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM).

The company hopes to raise over $320 million through its public offerings as it attempts to right itself from dire financial straights after having posted two consecutive years of net losses. The firm would be valued at approximately 1.6 billion dollars if the IPO goes as planned.

The Palm Beach County, Florida-based company began as an online newsletter, according to Reuters, and has since expanded in scope to new enterprises, such as, “(running)┬ávarious personal finance websites, including its flagship, collecting and publishing rates and other financial data in areas including mortgages, car loans, banking fees and retirement savings.”

Financial performance has fluctuated for the young company, after having earned profits of $20 million in 2008, the firm has faced novel challenges in recent years, posting losses of $43 million in ’09 and $39 million in 2010. With forthcoming IPO’s from hot web companies Groupon, Zynga, and many more, BankRate’s performance may serve as something of a bellwether in gauging investor demand towards the next wave of Web offerings.

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