Safeway spinoff Blackhawk rises in trading debut

AP News
Posted: Apr 19, 2013 5:06 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Blackhawk Network, the gift and prepaid card unit of supermarket chain Safeway, rose in its trading debut after its IPO raised $230 million.

Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc. priced 10 million shares at $23 each, above the expected range of $20 to $22. That suggested solid demand from investors. But Safeway is selling the shares, so Blackhawk itself won't get any of the proceeds. Safeway Inc. still owns about 76 percent of Blackhawk's Class A shares.

Blackhawk Network sells gift cards from brands such as, iTunes, Macy's and Starbucks, as well as cards from American Express, MasterCard and Visa. It also distributes prepaid, reloadable cards from Green Dot and NetSpend that work much like debit cards, except they don't require users to have a bank account.

Shares of the Pleasanton, Calif., company now trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol "HAWK." The stock gained $3.01, or 13 percent, to close at $26.01.

Safeway shares lost 7 cents to close at $26.55.