(Adds company background) By Olivia Oran
Oct 10 (Reuters) - Real estate services company RealogyHoldings Corp priced its initial public offering at $27a share on Wednesday, at the top of its expected range, anunderwriter said.
The company, backed by Apollo Global Management LLC ,
raised $1.1 billion by pricing 40 million shares as planned,making it the third largest IPO in the United States this yearbehind Facebook and Santander Mexico Financial Group. It had estimated a price range of $23 to $27.
Realogy, based in Parsippany, New Jersey, owns residentialreal estate brokerage firms including Century 21 and ColdwellBanker. It is one of several companies that Apollo is trying totake public this year.
Last week Apollo-backed container maker Berry Plastics
priced its $470 million IPO at the low end of therange. Since then, shares have fallen over 7 percent.
Earlier this year, Apollo companies CKE Inc andMomentive Performance Materials Holdings LLC postponed theirIPOs.
Interest for Realogy may have been driven by investorslooking to capitalize on movement in the housing market.
"Housing is turning around slowly and coming back from thevery deep bottom that it hit," said Celia Chen, a seniordirector at Moody's Analytics who specializes in housingeconomics. "There's a lot of businesses related to the marketfor home ownership, including real estate agencies, who willbenefit from stronger housing demands."
Archstone Inc, the apartment owner and developer owned byLehman Brothers Holdings Inc , filed for an IPO inAugust.
The Realogy IPO comes on the heels of successful debuts fromother companies in the real estate sector including Trulia.
Realogy plans to use the proceeds from the offering to cutits debt, which totaled $7.34 billion as of June 30.
Realogy was spun off from Cendant Corp in July 2006 andlater taken private by Apollo for about $6.65 billion at theheight of the housing boom. It generates revenue from royaltyfees under long term franchise agreements. These fees are basedon a percentage of the franchise's sales commission.
Ten companies are hoping to raise a combined $3.5 billionthrough initial public offerings this week, according to marketsdata provider Ipreo.
The market for IPOs has largely been mixed this fall, withfew companies pricing at the top of the expected range.
"There's been a continued general reluctance by investors todive in whole hog," said Lee Simmons, industry specialist at Dun& Bradstreet. "They've seen some big IPOs go out of the gatefall flat and so their expectations are higher."
Realogy will list its shares on the New York Stock Exchangeunder the symbol "RLGY."
(Reporting By Olivia Oran; Editing by Carol Bishopric)
((Olivia.Oran@thomsonreuters.com)(646 223 6335))