* Sold 12.1 mln shares for $14.50 vs $10.50-$12.50 range
* A source had said Qihoo planned to raise price range
* Chinese No. 3 Internet company, No. 2 browser
* UBS and Citi led underwriters on the IPO
* To begin trading on NYSE under symbol ‘QIHU’ (Updates with background on Chinese IPOs, private placement)
NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd, China’s third most-popular Internet company, raised $175.5 million in an initial public offering and priced shares above the proposed range, an underwriter said on Tuesday.
Qihoo 360 said it was China’s No. 3 Internet company by user base and the leading provider of Internet and mobile security products. Its 360 Safe Browser is the second most popular in China after Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) Internet Explorer, the company said, citing iResearch.
Qihoo 360’s IPO -- a relatively big one for its type -- comes on the heels of a rush of similar Chinese Internet companies in the fourth quarter of 2010, such as online video company Youku.com Inc YOKU.N and Internet retailer Dangdang Inc DANG.N.
So far this year, Chinese IPOs have seen little traction as the shares of the companies that listed in New York have dropped below their offer prices.
Beijing-based Qihoo 360 had filed with U.S. regulators to sell the ADSs for $10.50 to $12.50, but a source with direct knowledge of the IPO plans told Reuters earlier on Tuesday the company planned to raise the price range guidance to $13.50 to $14.50 per ADS because of significant investor demand. [ID:nL3E7ET171]
The source also said venture capital and private equity firms Sequoia Capital, Highland Capital Partners, Trustbridge Partners and CDH Investments had agreed to buy $50 million of the company’s shares in a concurrent private placement.
Qihoo 360 sold 12.1 million American depositary shares (ADS) for $14.50 each, the underwriter said.
The shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “QIHU” QIHU.N on Wednesday.
UBS Investment Bank and Citi led underwriters on the IPO. (Reporting by Alina Selyukh; editing by Steve Orlofsky and Andre Grenon)