After the slowest quarter for new U.S. stock listings since the housing market crash in 2008, Bats Global Markets (BATS) raised $252.7 million in the largest initial public offering so far this year.
Bats, which is based in Lenexa, Kan., previously attempted to go public in April 2012 but failed when its computers malfunctioned and it was unable to trade. Thursday's offering included 13.3 million shares at $19 each, a boost from the original offering of 11.2 million for $17 apiece.
It's been at least five years since the last IPO of an exchange, said Larry Tabb, founder and CEO of Tabb Group.
"It's nice to just have an IPO period," Tabb said. "It's been a pretty challenging couple of months given the volatility we had in January."
Bats ran 50,000 tests of its auction system, according to a source familiar with the matter, which is three times the size of the one Facebook used for its offering, the biggest in history.
"It's good that they sort of slayed that boogeyman from a couple of years ago," Tabb said. "From Bats' perspective, they are a really competent set of folks."
It's unlikely another exchange such as Bats will go public any time soon, Tabb said: They're all either publicly traded already or far too small to go public. Traders can, however, expect more IPOs in the general market in the coming months.
"The market is firmed up and the volatility has gone down," Tabb said. "There are some major companies that have been sniffing around."
From a trading perspective, Bats could be a good bet: The company's market prices and fees are still relatively low but are likely to increase since it's gone public.
While BATS may be underpriced by the market in the short-term, that's likely to change within three to five years, Tabb said. "They run a very tight ship," he said. "There's upside value there to be unlocked."
Morgan Stanley and Citigroup acted as joint bookrunning managers and representatives of the underwriters. Other firms, including Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase are acting as joint bookrunners, while Jefferies , Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Nomura, Rosenblatt and Sandler O'Neil are acting as co-managers of the offering.
Bats announced in late March that it acquired San Francisco-based ETF data and news provider, ETF.com, without disclosing terms.
More than a year earlier, the company acquired Jersey City, N.J.-based foreign exchange market, Hotspot FX from KCG Holdings for $365 million.
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