Mobile Ad Firm Velti Raises $150 Million In U.S. IPO


Mobile marketing and advertising company Velti made its debut on the NASDAQ market today, where shares closed at $15, or 25 percent above their opening price of $12 as it traded under the ticker “VELT.”

On Thursday, Reuters reported that Velti and its shareholders sold 12.5 million shares priced at $12 each, raising $150.2 million. That sum fell short of the $200 million Velti had been hoping to achieve when it first announced the IPO in May 2010.

But it’s a measure of the mobile ad industry’s growth — and Velti’s transformation and expansion — when you compare this week’s U.S. debut with Velti’s debut on London’s AIM exchange in 2006. At that time, Velti raised $17 million, and focussed only on the Balkans and Turkish market, where it operated as a mobile content delivery company.

In December, Velti announced several new mobile operator customers that included T-Mobile, Vodafone (NYSE: VOD), MTS, O2 and Orange, among others. Velti said that in the first half of 2010, over 525 customers, which include brands, ad agencies, mobile operators and media companies, used its mGage mobile advertising platform for over 1,200 campaigns.

Velti has said it will use the proceeds of this wee’s IPO to pay back $39 million in debt, as well as for “general corporate purposes.”

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