SkinnyPop Maker Drops in Stock Debut After $270 Million IPO

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Why Did Amplify Fail to Pop in Trading Debut?

Amplify Snack Brands Inc., the maker of SkinnyPop popcorn, plunged in its stock-market debut, a setback for a company that boosted the price range of its initial public offering earlier this week.

Amplify fell 10 percent to $16.14 in New York trading. Private equity firm TA Associates Management LP and existing investors raised $270 million in the IPO, selling 15 million shares for $18 apiece. They had initially offered them for $14 to $16.

Tom Ennis, the company’s chief executive officer, said on Wednesday that he wouldn’t be focusing on the shares’ daily moves. The stock is still trading above its earlier price range, he noted.

“I think I’d go crazy if I just watched the stock price,” Ennis said in an interview. “If we do what we believe we can do, we’ll be rewarded and so will our investors.”

Amplify, which didn’t sell any shares in the offering, had a market value of about $1.4 billion at the IPO price. Based in Austin, Texas, the company focuses on developing what it calls “better for you” food, such as its main product, SkinnyPop -- an organic snack made without genetically modified ingredients and major allergens. In April, Amplify acquired Paqui, a tortilla-chip brand that is gluten-free, trans-fat-free, cholesterol-free and also made without GMOs.

Amplify has plans to launch Paqui nationally early in 2016. The company also is looking to make another acquisition and has had talks with several companies, Ennis said.

Amplify’s net sales more than doubled last year to $132.4 million, according to regulatory filings. TA Associates will continue to be a majority owner of the company after the IPO.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Jefferies Group, Credit Suisse Group AG and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Inc. managed the offering. The shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BETR.

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