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Shares soar on first day of trading for L.A. ad platform Rubicon

Shares soar on first day of trading for L.A. ad platform Rubicon
The Rubicon Project is now a publicly traded company. Above, CEO and founder Frank Addante. (Stefano Paltera / For The Times)

Perhaps the best ad for Los Angeles online advertising platform the Rubicon Project is that its shares shot up 37% on its first day of trading.

Rubicon on Wednesday began offering shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RUBI, opening at a price of $17.50 a share, 17% higher than its offering price of $15.

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The Playa Vista company sold nearly 6.8 million shares. Its IPO priced at $101.6 million, at the low end of expectations.

But shares quickly surged and were up 37% to $20.63 shortly after 10 a.m. PDT.

Company executives were in New York to ring the opening bell. Afterward, founder and Chief Executive Frank Addante called it a "major milestone" for the 7-year-old firm, whose mission is to automate the buying and selling of advertising.

"Our goal is to be the leader in that market; the IPO was just one of the steps in that goal but not the goal itself," he said. "Being a public company adds a level of transparency, but for us it's a pretty natural transition from being a private to a public company."

With Rubicon's ad platform, Addante said the company wants to replace old-school telephone advertising.

In its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Rubicon said that buyers of digital advertising "use our platform to reach 97% of Internet users in the United States and over 600 million Internet users globally on some of the world's leading websites and applications."

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