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King Digital Entertainment Plc -- the fine folks who brought "Candy Crush Saga" to our tablets and smartphones -- hopes to collect up to $7.6 billion in its initial public offering (IPO), scheduled for March 26. At the top of its projected range, the shares would be priced at $24 apiece. The stock will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the KING symbol.
Last year was a big year for IPOs as well -- in fact, the best year since 2000, with 222 companies making their public debut to the tune of $55 billion. Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) was of course among the most widely followed market rookies, but there were 221 other names moving and shaking, too. Here's a quick look back at three of them, to see how far they have (or haven't) come.
Restaurant chain Noodles & Co (NASDAQ:NDLS) debuted on the Nasdaq on June 28. Rising from its IPO price of $18 to close at $36.75, NDLS became the first company since April 2012 to double on its initial trading day. The company rallied to an all-time high of $51.97 mere days later, but has subsequently come back to earth, and was last seen at $38.05.
While 10 analysts currently follow the shares, only two have deemed NDLS worthy of a "buy" rating, leaving eight "holds." A change in heart among the Wall Street contingent could be the impetus the stock needs to break free of its current holding pattern.
Months later, Empire State Realty Trust Inc (NYSE:ESRT) -- an owner/operator of office and retail properties in Manhattan and the surrounding areas -- debuted on Oct. 2. The stock had been priced at $13, and closed its first session just a dime higher, at $13.10. Since then, the shares have slowly trudged higher, and now sit at $14.80, a respectable five-plus-month advance of 13%.
Should the stock continue to muscle higher, it could benefit from short-covering activity down the road. Currently -- with 4.3% of the equity's available float sold short -- it would take nearly two weeks to cover all of these bearish bets, at the stock's average daily volume.
Chicago-based sandwich shop Potbelly Corp (NASDAQ:PBPB) had its turn in the spotlight on Oct. 4. Priced at $14 a share, the shares spiked out of the gate, ending the session at $30.77. The honeymoon is over for PBPB shares, however, which currently trade at $20.69. In 2014 alone, the stock has surrendered almost 15% of its value.
Not surprisingly, option bears have been hungry for PBPB. During the last 10 days at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), more than two puts have been purchased to open for every call. Analysts are also skeptical, as three of the four covering brokers currently assign the security a "hold" rating.