Online storage firm Box seeks $187 million in IPO on Friday

Online storage firm Box is seeking to raise as much as $$187 million in its initial public offering Friday

Box Inc. is expected to make its public trading debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, nearly a year after the online storage company delayed its initial public offering as its business model faced scrutiny.

Pricing its shares at $11 to $13, Box is seeking to raise as much as $187 million in the offering. That would value the company at close to $1.5 billion — below the more than $2-billion figure that venture capital investors staked to it during a funding round last summer.

People can store about 10 gigabytes of files in a digital locker from Box at no charge. The company makes its money by charging businesses for similar file storage and sharing services. It can handle any type of file and often customizes tools to fit industry-specific issues.

Box now counts 48% of the Fortune 500 as clients, including Gap Inc., Dell Inc., EBay Inc. and Chevron Corp.

But it faces competition from giants such as Microsoft Corp. and EMC Corp., which could put pressure on how much Box can charge for its services. And high sales and marketing costs have concerned Wall Street.

Box Chief Executive Aaron Levie, who founded the company while studying at USC in 2005, has said superior security and analytics tools would help give Box an edge.

The company is selling two classes of stock, in effect leaving most of the control of the company in the hands of Box executives and the venture capital investors.

Levie's stake in the company is small, having sold off much of it as the company raised more than $500 million in venture capital.

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