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Tencent-backed gaming and shopping company Sea stumbles in US IPO

  • Shares priced at $15 apiece, above the expected range of $12 to $14.
  • The Tencent-backed company also boosted the original offer size of 49.69 million shares by 18.7 percent in response to strong demand.
  • The stock trades on the NYSE under the ticker symbol "SE."

Shares of Singapore-based online gaming and e-commerce company Sea stumbled in the company's U.S. stock market debut Friday.

Shares priced at $15 apiece, above the expected range of $12 to $14, in the $884 million IPO. Shares opened at $16.25 on the NYSE but fell below $15 within the first hour of trading. Shares later stabilized slightly above $15.

The company trades under the ticker symbol "SE."

The Tencent-backed company also boosted the original offer size of 49.69 million shares by 18.7 percent in response to strong demand.

"We built a very strong foundation for our company, and more importantly, we acquired a crucial asset: our local knowledge," CEO Forrest Li told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" on Friday.

Singapore-based Sea Limited Chairman and CEO Forrest Li speaks during an interview with CNBC following his company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 20, 2017.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Singapore-based Sea Limited Chairman and CEO Forrest Li speaks during an interview with CNBC following his company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 20, 2017.

Sea's holdings include online gaming service Garena, virtual payment app AirPay, and e-commerce marketplace Shopee.

"Most of the people in our region get their first-time internet experience through their smartphone with the data plan and they start to buy and sell things like on social media platform like Facebook," Li said. "We created this Shopee platform, and we offer them the social media experience at the same time we solve the seller's pain."

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are underwriting the IPO. Shares oscillated above and below $15 in midday trading.

— Reuters contributed to this report.