SelectQuote shares surge nearly 40% in U.S. market debut

May 21 (Reuters) - Shares of SelectQuote Inc jumped as much as 40% in their U.S. market debut on Thursday, giving the insurance policy comparison website a market valuation of over $4 billion.

The stock opened at $26.20 and rose to as high as $28 in early trade.

SelectQuote on Wednesday raised $360 million after it sold 18 million shares as planned, and existing shareholders sold 10.5 million shares, up from 7 million.

The shares were sold at $20 each, above the marketed range of $17 to $19.

The company’s stellar offering is the latest sign of thawing in the initial public offering (IPO) market, which was shut to most companies when the coronavirus outbreak fueled weeks of stock market volatility in March and April.

Only a handful of biotechnology and blank-check companies went ahead with IPOs during this period.

“(SelectQuote) has achieved fast growth and market share from selling Medicare Advantage insurance to baby boomers,” said Kathleen Smith, principal, Renaissance Capital, a provider of institutional research and IPO ETFs.

“The IPO is being priced at a discount to its closest peer eHealth and the trading of its peers including eHealth, Everquote and Goosehead has been strong.”

SelectQuote allows customers to compare policies for life, auto and home insurance from providers including American International Group, Prudential Financial Inc and Liberty Mutual.

For the nine months to the end of March, SelectQuote posted $390.1 million in revenue, up almost 50% year on year while net income edged up 2.4% to $61.1 million. (Reporting by Abhishek Manikandan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)