Investors keep gobbling up food IPOs, with Potbelly Corp. surging as much as 141% in its market debut Friday, even after pricing above expectations.
In its $105-million initial public offering, the Chicago sandwich chain and its shareholders sold 7.5 million shares at $14 apiece, above their expected range of $12 to $13.
The stock, trading under the PBPB ticker on the Nasdaq exchange, opened at $28.79 on Friday. By early afternoon in New York, it was up nearly 128%, or $17.85, to $31.85 a share.
The interest in Potbelly mirrors several other food-focused public debuts recently. Noodles & Co. and Sprouts Farmers Markets Inc. this year, and organic food company Annie’s Inc. last year all more than doubled their value during their first day of trading.
Potbelly, which also sells salads, shakes and desserts, was founded in 1977 as a small antique store. The company didn’t open a second shop until 1997, the year after it was sold by the original owner to entrepreneur Bryant Keil.
As of September, the chain had 295 locations nationwide. A smattering of stores are based in Oregon and Arizona, but none have opened in California.
The company said in regulatory filings that revenue increased 15.5% to $274.9 million from 2011 to 2012.
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