In one of the largest and most hotly anticipated stock offerings in the computer industry in years, Mips Computer Systems Inc. announced an initial public offering on Thursday that valued the company at $352 million.
Mips said it offered 4.6 million shares at $17.50 apiece for a total of $80.5 million.
The computer industry has waited for months for Mips to go public. Initial public offerings in the computer industry have dried up since the Wall Street crash of 1987.
"Mips is an example of a rare bird these days--a big, private, successful company," said Michael Murphy, editor of California Technology Stock Letter.
"I'd like to think this opens the door for other companies (to go public) . . . good, quality companies, but I don't think it opens the window for any kind of IPO revival," he said.
Mips, founded in 1984, was an early leader in the development of speedy computer chips based on a technology known as reduced instruction set computing.
RISC chips, which streamline the number of tasks a microprocessor has to perform, make it possible to make extremely fast computers at a relatively low cost.
Mips sells computers based on its own RISC chips, but much of its success has come from licensing its design to other computer makers, including Digital Equipment Corp., Tandem Computers, Silicon Graphics, Sony and NEC.
The company expects sales this year to jump to about $100 million from $40 million in 1988.