Online learning firm Udemy valued at $3.7 bln in tepid market debut

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Oct 29 (Reuters) - Online learning company Udemy Inc (UDMY.O), which has grown rapidly over the past year due to a surge in demand for online learning, was valued at $3.7 billion after its shares opened 7% below offer price in their Nasdaq debut on Friday.

The San Francisco, California-based company is the latest in a string of online education firms which have gone public this year, joining the likes of Coursera Inc (COUR.N) and Nerdy Inc (NRDY.N) looking to cash in on the demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, some recent hiccups in the U.S. IPO market forced hopefuls like NordicTrack-owner iFIT Health & Fitness Inc and Allvue Systems Holdings to pull the plug on their listings earlier this month. Both the companies cited adverse market conditions for delaying their share sales. read more

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Udemy's shares opened at $27, down from the initial public offering price of $29.

The company launched a direct-to-consumer subscription earlier this year, an offering that is still in beta testing mode. Its corporate training offering, Udemy Business, counts PayPal Holdings Inc (PYPL.O), Citigroup Inc (C.N), Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS.NS) among its customers.

Udemy which offers 183,000 courses on its platform in 75 languages across 180 countries competes with Pluralsight, Skillsoft Corp (SKIL.N) and LinkedIn Learning for its corporate training business and with Coursera and edX in its consumer-facing marketplace.

On Friday, the company sold 14.5 million shares priced at the top end of a price range announced earlier, raising nearly $421 million.

Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan are the lead underwriters for the offering.

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Reporting by Niket Nishant and Manya Saini in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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