Business, Economics and Jobs

Annie’s, Berkeley-based organic food company, has best stock market debut in a year


Boxes of Annie's shell pasta on a shelf at Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley, Calif.


Justin Sullivan

Shares of organic and natural food company Annie's Inc. rose 89 percent today in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. That’s the best first-day performance of a stock since LinkedIn Corp. surged 109 percent in May 2011, the Wall Street Journal noted.

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Late Tuesday, Annie's underwriters, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase, had even priced its initial public offering at $19 per share, higher than its already-boosted target range of $16 to $18, CNN Money reported.

Annie’s sells 125 products, including macaroni and cheese and graham crackers, at both natural foods stores and retail giants like Costco and Target in the US and Canada, MarketWatch reported. Sales for the company’s 2011 fiscal year that ended March 31 were $118 million. Annie’s stock ticker, BNNY, is a nod to the pet rabbit of company founder Annie Withey, according to MarketWatch.

According to CNN Money:

Investors said Annie's is enticing because it's profitable and has a dominant market share in the organic food space, a rapidly growing consumer products niche.

According to MarketWatch, the Berkeley, Calif.-based company said it will collect $11.6 million after covering its IPO underwriting costs and other expenses.

Two other IPOs that launched today made notable gains, the Wall Street Journal reported. Vocera Communications Inc. jumped 31.4 percent after pricing above range and subprime lender Regional Management Corp. increased 9.7 percent after pricing below range.

"The start of the year was very, very tech oriented," David Ethridge, head of capital markets at the New York Stock Exchange, told CNN Money. "What we're seeing now is a broadening of the type of company going public."

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