Blackhawk Files for IPO up to $200 Million, Cites Mobile and International Growth Plans (March 18, 2013)
March 18, 2013
Another prepaid veteran is going public. Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. filed for an initial public offering today, planning to raise up to $200 million in stock to be sold by existing investors, including its parent company, Safeway Inc. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based prepaid card provider and third-party distributor, founded in 2001 as a Safeway division, in September disclosed its plan to launch an IPO during the first half of this year. Safeway, which is the nation’s second-largest grocery chain, currently owns about 96 percent of Blackhawk, will sell a minority stake and plans to continue to hold a major stake after the IPO, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
This announcement “pretty much puts Blackhawk on the sale block,” according to Madeline Aufseeser, senior analyst with Aite Group. “There are different ways to raise money and one of them is just by selling the company; [Blackhawk] could opt to go that route if a suitor came along.” Aufseeser also notes that a successful Blackhawk IPO could possibly spur InComm—Blackhawk’s largest competitor—which is still privately held, to consider its options, including possibly going public.
Blackhawk plans to list its common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “HAWK.” Blackhawk said in its prospectus that its growth strategy includes plans to expand prepaid card distribution through integration with mobile applications and the company also plans further international expansion, including selling prepaid cards in China later this year. The IPO’s date and pricing have not been announced.
Lead underwriters include Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Inc. and Deutsch Bank AG, according to the filing.