Container Store IPO opens with a bang

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: Angels and puties adorn the fascade of the New York Stock Exchange stands on September 16, 2013 in New York City. Five years after the beginning of the financlial crisis marked by the bankrupcy of Lehman Brothers, Wall Street has more than recovered its losses, although unemployment in the United States remains high. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
John Moore

NEW YORK Shares of The Container Store opened strong Friday as the storage company went public.

The stock had nearly doubled as of 12:29 p.m. Eastern, rising $18.35 to $36.35 after Container Store executives rang the traditional bell at the New York Stock Exchange, where the company is listed, to mark the start of the day's trading.

Shares in the IPO were priced at $18. Trading activity was heavy, with nearly 10 million shares changing hands.

The retailer, which specializes in shelving, storage bins, boxes and related organizational items, priced its initial public offering of 12.5 million shares at $18 apiece. This was above the projected price range of $14 to $16 per share.

    Container Store raised $225 million in the IPO. It is giving underwriters the option to buy up to nearly 1.9 million additional shares. Shares are trading under the "TCS" ticker symbol.

    The Dallas company said that it plans to spend proceeds on paying preferred dividends to its private equity firm backer, Leonard Green & Partners, as well as current and former employees and repaying debt. Leonard Green will own nearly 61 percent of its shares after the IPO.

    The Container Store has 62 stores in the U.S. that sell organization and storage products. It also owns Elfa, a Swedish maker of storage system parts that are sold in its stores and elsewhere.

    It has been a busy year for IPOs. The number of IPOs priced so far this year has risen nearly 28 percent over 2012. Companies have raised $102 billion, up 20 percent from last year. The market could get another dose of excitement next week, when Twitter on Nov. 7 is scheduled to go public on the NYSE.