By Chris Dieterich
NEW YORK--Enterprise-software company Workday Inc. priced its initial public offering above the expected range, setting the stage for a $637 million deal that will be largest public offering for any tech company since Facebook Inc.'s (FB) in May.
Workday priced 22.75 million Class A shares in its IPO at $28, well above the expected $24-to-$26 range, according to a person familiar with the deal's terms.
The company will list Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WDAY.
On Tuesday, Workday raised the price expectations for its offering.
Firm pricing for Workday came after four IPOs each priced at or above their proposed ranges and then surged more than 20% Thursday in their first day of trading.
Workday, based in Pleasanton, Calif., makes human-resources software and competes directly with the likes of Oracle Corp.'s (ORCL) PeopleSoft and German software company SAP AG (SAP, SAP.XE).
Workday derives a majority of its subscription revenue from its program that provides "cloud"-based software for payrolls, financial management, time tracking and employee expense management.
The company was co-founded by David Duffield and Aneel Bhusri, who ran PeopleSoft before Oracle's takeover of the company was completed in 2005.
Workday is the latest and biggest offering from the cloud-technology niche, which refers broadly to Internet-based delivery.
Three third-quarter cloud deals have notched post-IPO gains. Palo Alto Networks Inc. (PANW), which also provides network security, has gained 46% since its July IPO. Eloqua Inc. (ELOQ), which uses the cloud for marketing data, is up more than 70% since its early-August IPO.
Workday's revenue more than doubled to $119 million in the six months ended July 31. But the company has never turned a profit amid rising costs for research and development, sales and marketing.
Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Allen & Co. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) will serve as lead underwriters.
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