Online data storage provider Box's shares soar in debut

Fri Jan 23, 2015 3:42pm EST
 
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By Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) - Shares of online data storage provider Box Inc (BOX.N: Quote) rose as much as 77 percent in their market debut as investors bet on the company's ability to turn profitable in a highly competitive market, boding well for another big year for IPOs.

Box's shares, which priced at $14, hit a high of $24.72 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, valuing the company at nearly $3 billion.

The stock's enthusiastic reception also underscored healthy investor appetite for technology stocks after the blockbuster debut of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N: Quote) in September.

U.S. IPOs, which have been on a tear since 2013, raised more than $93 billion last year, the most since 2000.

Box was founded in 2005 by University of Southern California dropout Aaron Levie, the chief executive, and his friend Dylan Smith, the chief financial officer.

The Los Altos, California-based company has about 32 million users, compared with about 300 million for Dropbox, its popular privately held rival. (bit.ly/1tsaMLK)

Dropbox, which has said it plans to go public eventually, has been valued at about $10 billion.

Apart from Dropbox, Box faces increasing competition from Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O: Quote) OneDrive, which is offered free when users sign up for its Office apps, Apple Inc's (AAPL.O: Quote) iCloud, and Google Inc's (GOOGL.O: Quote) Google Drive.   Continued...

 
Online data storage provider Box Inc Co-Founder and CEO Aaron Levie (C) rings the opening bell to celebrate his company's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange January 23, 2015.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid