HouseValues on Thursday priced its initial public offering at $15 a share, well above its initial estimated range of $10 to $12. At the opening price, the company will sell $93.8 million in shares. In the first hours of trading today, shares were selling at around $17, with a volume of about 7.1 million.

The company is offering 4.2 million shares, and its selling shareholders are offering 2.1 million shares. Common stock will be traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the trading symbol “SOLD.”

If there is increased demand for HouseValues stock, underwriters have been granted a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 625,000 shares from HouseValues, and up to an additional 312,500 shares from the selling shareholders. If those shares are sold, the company will raise $107.8 million.

HouseValues generates online leads for real estate agents through its HouseValues.com and JustListed.com Web sites. The company also provides products and services for agents to manage and convert leads into closed transactions.

The National Association of Realtors estimated that more than 70 percent of home buyers in 2003 began their home search online.

HouseValues generated revenues of $25.1 million for 2003, and $33.3 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2004. Net income was $3.8 million for 2003, and $5.6 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2004.

HouseValues first filed for its IPO in September, saying it expected to raise up to $86.3 million from the offering.

In its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, HouseValues said it has no specific plan for the capital raised by the offering, but said it may use some proceeds to develop additional products and services, or to acquire or invest in businesses, products or technologies complementary to its core products, such as those in connection with residential mortgage-related services.

Credit Suisse First Boston LLC and J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. acted as joint book-running managers for HouseValues’ offering, with Piper Jaffray & Co., Thomas Weisel Partners LLC and Pacific Crest Securities Inc. acting as co-managers.

The company is led by Ian Morris, who joined HouseValues in 2002 as its executive vice president and then served as the company’s chief operating officer before being promoted to CEO after his first year with the company. Under Morris’ leadership, HouseValues has become one of the fastest-growing online real estate companies.

Before joining HouseValues, Morris spent seven years at Microsoft Corp., most recently as the general manager of MSN HomeAdvisor, the company’s online real estate channel.

***

Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to jessica@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 133.

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