September 19, 2013

Charleston's Benefitfocus Has Big Opening Day For Its IPO

John Mcdermott  /  Post and Courier

Benenfitfocus, Charleston's newest publicly traded company, got quite a reception on its first day of trading.

It started at 9:30 a.m. with CEO Shawn Jenkins ringing the opening bell at the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York City with about 50 company associates. By the time the exchange closed at 4 p.m., shares of Benefitfocus had more than doubled, ending the session at $53.55. About 6 million shares changed hands.

"It's been a pretty awesome welcome for us," Jenkins said around 1 p.m.

He noted that he didn't sell any shares in the initial public offering, which raised $119 million. Nor did Mason Holland, the Daniel Island company's chairman and co-founder. "We're in for the long haul," Jenkins said.

Benefitfocus registered the IPO about a month ago. This week it increased the size of the offering to 4.935 million shares at $26.50 each. The previously projected price range was $21.50-24.50 for 4.5 million shares. The stock jumped 60 percent out of the gate,

"Benefitfocus IPO Goes Big," the financial website proclaimed.

The 13-year-old firm makes cloud-based software tools that employees can use to compare, sign up for and manage their workplace benefits. Its customers include large businesses and health insurance carriers.

Editor Note: Keep up with BNFT stock price here