NEW YORK (AP) – The most anticipated IPO of the first offerings this year, Symetra Financial, priced its stock at the bottom of its expected range for $12 apiece.
Symetra already has a big backer in Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. owned about a quarter of the company that has been privately held.
Investors bought 30.4 million of the Bellevue, Wash., company’s shares, raising $364.8 million.
They had been expected to price between $12 to $14. The company also sold investors 3.4 million more shares than it had planned.
Berkshire Hathaway retained its entire stake of about a quarter of the life insurance company, whic also sells medical insurance underwriting services, and retirement products such as annuities and IRAs.
Analysts believed that the company’s ties to Buffett would bring in gobs of investor money, but a 336-point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average over the previous two days appeared to spook potential buyers, and shares came in at the low end.
Symetra Financial Corp. said in a regulatory filing that proceeds from the offering, before expenses, were $234.1 million, which it would use for general corporate purposes.
Underwriters also have a 30-day option to purchase up to 4.6 million more shares, which could raise $55.2 million more for the insurer.
Symetra is expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange Friday under the symbol “SYA.”
The lead underwriters of the offering were BofA Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital.