The maker of organic foods priced its IPO at $19 last night, comfortably above both its original $14 to $16 price range and its recently revised target of $16 to $18. It wasn't enough. The stock popped to open at $31.11 this morning.
Folks can't seem to get enough out of the company that got its start more than 20 years ago when Annie Withey -- yes, there's a real Annie -- began selling organic macaroni and cheese. The product line evolved to eventually include organic snacks, condiments, and even a rising-crust pizza.
The boxes bear a "Rabbit of Approval" stamp, and that bunny -- the inspiration for the company's ticker symbol -- was Bernie. The Dutch rabbit was Annie's beloved pet for many years, making this the second recent IPO to celebrate a founder's deceased pet through a logo that gets worked into a ticker symbol.
If you're stumped on the other company, it'll surprise you. Zynga
There's naturally little that Zynga and Annie's have in common even though Annie's likes to play a real version of FarmVille in its organic sourcing. Both stocks have been hot IPOs, though.
This is a good time for a company seen as a pure play in organic edibles. Ubiquitous grocer Whole Foods Market
Annie's growth will fit in nicely. The company saw its net sales climb 22% in its last fiscal year, and Annie's top line has delivered a 21% top-line spurt through the first nine months of the 2012 fiscal year that ends later this week. Pre-tax profits more than doubled last year and are up a robust 39% through the first three quarters of this fiscal year.
Today's scintillating debut is naturally going to raise valuation concerns. More than 80% of the shares being offered this morning came from insiders willing to cash out in the teens. Then again, Annie's has the pedigree of a solid growth stock, and it's definitely in the right niche at the right time.
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