First Data Raises $2.56 Billion in IPO

Register now

First Data Corp. raised $2.56 billion in its initial public offering, pricing the shares below the marketed range.

The KKR & Co.-backed payments processor sold 160 million shares for $16 apiece, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, after offering them for $18 to $20 each.

Albertsons Cos., the grocery chain, also scheduled to price its IPO on Wednesday, has delayed the offering by at least a day, according to a person familiar with the situation. The company, seeking to raise as much as $1.7 billion in its share sale, decided to wait to reassure investors after a weak profit forecast from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sent that company’s shares on their biggest decline in more than 27 years, said the person.

At the IPO price, First Data has a market value of about $14 billion. The offering is an important one for KKR, as First Data ended up being the private-equity firm’s biggest equity bet. At $16, KKR’s stake is valued at $4.5 billion, or about 15 percent higher than its $3.9 billion investment.

The shares will start trading Thursday, listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker FDC. Proceeds from the offering will be used to pay down First Data’s debt, which totaled $21 billion at the end of June, largely a result of the 2007 leveraged buyout.

Lowering First Data’s debt level will be an important step for the company because it will free up money to invest in the business, rather than directing most of its resources to keeping expenses low to meet its debt obligations, according to Lisa Ellis, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.

Investors may have to take a long-term view when considering whether to buy the stock. While the company has scale in the merchant-payments business, First Data is facing increasing competition from startups such as Square Inc. and Stripe Inc. as retailers demand better terms.

While First Data’s revenue has accelerated under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Frank Bisignano, who joined in 2013, growth is much slower than the pace of global payments, Ellis said. That’s a sign the company is losing market share, she said.

First Data processes payments for banks and merchants, while offering a number of other services like fraud prevention technology and credit card acceptance systems.

Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch and KKR managed the IPO.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.