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GoDaddy races higher in Wall Street debut


[NEW YORK] GoDaddy shares surged in their Wall Street debut on Wednesday, as the market welcomed the company that tries to make website hosting sexy.

The stock trading under the symbol GDDY jumped nearly 31 per cent to close at US$26.15, following the initial public offering at US$20 a share raising some US$460 million.

At the current price, GoDaddy's market value is roughly US$4 billion, joining a host of emerging technology firms that have been looking mainly to private equity instead of Wall Street.

GoDaddy, known for its provocative television ads with scantily clad women and its sponsorship of race car driver Danica Patrick, was only the fourth IPO for the tech sector so far this year, according to Renaissance Capital.

The company has kept an unusually public profile for a tech firm, gaining attention for example with its Super Bowl "beauty and the nerd" commercial featuring supermodel Bar Refaeli.

GoDaddy is heading to Wall Street even though many of its peers in the sector have been raising cash in private markets, sparking fears of a bubble.

In recent months, Airbnb, Dropbox, Pinterest and Uber have lifted their valuations with private equity funding.

Renaissance Capital noted that interest in tech IPOs "was likely dampened by the widespread availability of private funding at very high valuations, which produced little urgency for companies to seek IPO capital." GoDaddy claims to be the world's largest Internet registrar, hosting some 59 million domain names.

It also manages and provides tools for the websites of some 13 million customers.

The IPO could help the Arizona-based group fuel expansion internationally.