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Aramark makes successful IPO

Investors seem to welcome its tangible business and track record.

The last of the “Big Three” contract management companies operating in the U.S. market is now a publicly-held entity as Aramark Corp. made a successful initial public offering of its stock in mid-December on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company bucked the prevailing negative economic outlook not only by making a successful sale but by doing so at what it says were its most optimistic price levels. Aramark shares had been expected to sell at between $20 to $23 a share. It started at $23 and then jumped to $26 the following day.

Trading under the symbol RMK, Aramark sold 30 million Class B shares in its debut, raising $690 million through lead underwriters Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. The Philadelphiabased company plans to use the money to pay down debt and to buy back shares of its outstanding stock from existing shareholders and from its 401(k) plans (for more on Aramark’s IPO plans, see the August FM).

Aramark, then known as ARA Services, was a publicly held company until 1984, when a hostile takeover attempt resulted in the company being taken private through a management buyout led by current chairman Joseph Neubauer.

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