Virgin America prices IPO at $23 a share

Associated Press

Virgin America said its initial public offering of 13.3 million shares was priced at $23 apiece, raising about $306 million.

The offering values the Burlingame, Calif., airline at about $994 million and was priced near the top of the expected range of $21 to $24 a share. The carrier is selling 13.1 million shares and stockholders are offering the rest.

Virgin America, backed by British billionaire Richard Branson, said its shares will start trading Friday on the Nasdaq stock market under the ticker symbol VA. The IPO comes at a time when fuel prices are at four-year lows and airline stocks are rising.

Virgin America started flying in 2007 with the goal of being low-cost but high-flair. Its Airbus jets feature mood lighting, leather seats and seatback touch screens for watching TV, ordering drinks or chatting with passengers in other rows.

Branson's company, Virgin Group Ltd., will be left with about 25% of the stock.

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