By Olivia Oran and Alistair Barr
Oct 11 (Reuters) - Cloud-based human resources software company Workday Inc priced its initial public offering at $28 a share on Thursday, above its expected range, an underwriter said.
The company raised $637 million by pricing 22.75 million Class A shares, making it the largest tech IPO since Facebook .
Earlier in the week, Workday raised its price range to $24 to $26 per share from $21 to $24 per share.
The IPO values the Pleasanton, California-based company, often cited as a leader in the burgeoning business of providing software services to companies over the Internet, at almost $4.5 billion.
Workday was co-founded by ex-PeopleSoft executives David Duffield and Aneel Bhusri who left PeopleSoft following its acquisition by Oracle Corp in 2004. The company, whose software helps enterprises such as Hewlett-Packard manage resources like employees, will have a dual class voting structure, with Class B shares worth 10 times the voting power of Class A shares.
Duffield and Bhusri will hold 67 percent of the company’s voting power following the IPO.
The company, which competes with SAP and Oracle, is the latest in a series of IPOs from cloud-based companies, which let customers access their data and computing power from remote servers. Proponents of cloud computing say it helps cuts costs.
Other recent public offerings from cloud-based companies include ServiceNow, Demandware Inc and Guidewire Software Inc.
“Workday is going right after the heart of enterprise technology which is financials and HR,” said Jeff Richards, a partner at GGV Capital who has invested in cloud computing companies. “People are interested in it because they may think it could be as big as Salesforce.com Inc one day.”
Workday’s revenue nearly doubled in 2011 to $134.4 million. Its net loss widened to $79.6 million from $56.2 million.
There has been rapid consolidation in the human resources software market as tech giants like International Business Machines Corp, SAP and Oracle have snapped up smaller players.
While consumer facing Internet companies like Facebook , Zynga and Groupon have struggled in recent months, firms focusing on the enterprise market like Workday have seen their shares soar.
“The enterprise market stands to gain a lot more than the Internet space,” said Lee Simmons, industry specialist at Dun & Bradstreet. “These are companies that provide a really tangible service to other businesses which is the value that investors see.”
Workday has over 340 customers including American International Group Inc, Flextronics International Ltd , Four Seasons Hotels and Kimberly-Clark Corp.
The company’s venture backers, Greylock Partners and New Enterprise Associates, are not selling any shares in the offering. Workday will use the IPO proceeds for expansion and working capital.
Other large deals during the week included real estate services firm Realogy Holding Corp’s $1.1 billion offering which priced Wednesday night.
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs were the lead underwriters for the Workday the offering.
Workday will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticket “WDAY.”