Bankrate IPO Prices at $15, Values Company at $1.5B

Personal-finance online content provider Bankrate (NASDAQ:RATE) priced its initial public offering at the midpoint of an expected range on Thursday, valuing the company at about $1.5 billion.

The company sold 20 million shares for $15 each, raising $300 million. The company had forecasted shares would sell in the range of $14 to $16 each.

The company has said it will use the estimated $320 million in proceeds to repay debt and finance the deal.

Internet companies have been able to command high valuations over the last few months, starting with LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), which skyrocketed 80% on its first day of trading, as investors have taken an interest in their social media status and potential for long-term growth.

Based in North Palm Beach, Fla., Bankrate runs an online business but differs from the emerging pack of highly valued Internet companies because, unlike LinkedIn, to name one, it is not a start up. The company, which provides personal finance information to consumers, from mortgages and insurance to deposits, was a public company for 10 years before being acquired in 2009 by Apax Partners in a deal valued at $571 million.

With the IPO, Apax has more than doubled its investment.

Leading the offering were underwriters Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE:BAC).