Blackstone's Performance Food Climbs in Debut Following IPO

Performance Food Group Co., the food distributor majority-owned by Blackstone Group LP, climbed in its debut after the company raised $275.5 million in an initial public offering.

The shares rose 1.1 percent to $19.20 at the close in New York, giving the company a market value of about $1.9 billion. Performance Food and existing shareholders sold 14.5 million shares for $19 each, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, after offering them for $22 to $25.

Blackstone and private-equity firm Wellspring Capital Management acquired Performance Food for about $1.25 billion in 2008. Blackstone will still hold about 62 percent of the company’s shares after the IPO, regulatory filings show, while Wellspring will own about 17 percent.

Performance Food is the third-largest food distributor by revenue, according to its prospectus, posting net sales of $15.3 billion in the year ended June 27.

The Richmond, Virginia-based company is among a handful of private-equity-owned businesses planning to tap public markets. First Data Corp., the payments company with investors led by KKR & Co., plans an offering of as much as $3.2 billion, the company said Thursday. Grocery chain Albertsons Cos., backed by Cerberus Capital Management, also is moving forward with plans for an offering.

Proceeds from Performance Food’s IPO will go toward paying down debt, the prospectus shows. The shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker PFGC. Credit Suisse Group AG, Barclays Plc, Wells Fargo & Co. and Morgan Stanley managed the offering, filings show.

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