Visa pulled in almost $18 billion in its initial public offering yesterday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The credit card company's IPO was the biggest by far in US history and the second biggest ever. The $44-per-share price investors paid was $2 higher than the company's highest estimate, and the price is expected to rise steeply when the shares hit the New York Stock Exchange this morning.
The troubled markets made Visa's IPO something of a gamble, but its roaring success could now boost market confidence battered by the credit crisis—from which Visa, a transaction processor rather than a lender, has been largely immune. "The business model is fantastic,'' a consultant noted. "They don't take the risk of extending credit to customers.''