Government consultant Booz Allen prices IPO at range's low
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Government consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp (BAH.N) priced shares in its U.S. initial public offering within the expected range on Tuesday, a sign that investors are once again buying private equity-backed new issues.
The window for IPO exits was shut during the financial crisis but cracked open late last year. Private equity firms have a large number of companies to sell in coming years as they look to profit from buyouts done during the boom years of last decade.
Booz Allen Hamilton, majority owned by private equity firm Carlyle Group CYL.UL, sold 14 million shares for $17 each, raising about $238 million, according to an underwriter. It had planned to sell 14 million shares for between $17 and $19 each.
The McLean, Virginia-based company provides management and technology consulting services to the U.S. government in the defense, intelligence and civil markets. It said it would use proceeds from the offering to repay debt.
Carlyle, which has more than $90.9 billion under management, bought a majority stake in Booz Allen Hamilton in 2008 for $2.54 billion.
In the six months ended September 30, Booz Allen Hamilton posted revenue of $2.7 billion, up 8 percent from the same period a year earlier. It posted net income of about $43 million, up 123.5 percent, in the same period.
Booz Allen Hamilton's IPO is one of a handful of offerings this week that will serve as a litmus test for the broader health of the U.S. IPO market.
Also on deck are U.S. automaker General Motors Co GM.UL; Chinese auto-themed website Bitauto Holdings; LPL Investment Holdings Inc, parent of one the largest U.S. brokerage companies; wireless communications parts maker Aeroflex Holding Corp and casino operator Caesars Entertainment.
Several of the offerings, including Booz Allen Hamilton, are backed by private equity firms.
Underwriters on the Booz Allen Hamilton IPO were led by Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital. The shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday under the symbol "BAH."
(Reporting by Clare Baldwin and Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)
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