West Corp. shares now traded on Nasdaq

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Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013 12:00 am

West Corp. began stock-market trading Friday after the company on Thursday priced its initial public offering of 21.3 million shares at $20 each, below earlier projections.

The Omaha-based provider of conference calls and 911 emergency switchboard software announced plans earlier this month to sell the shares. West said at the time that it expected to sell them for between $22 and $25 each.

The new price per share raised about $426 million, or almost $100 million less than would have been generated at a price of $25 per share.

The investment banks that structured the share sale and are responsible for selling the stock to large investors, New York-based Goldman Sachs & Co. and Morgan Stanley & Co., have an option to buy an additional 3.1 million shares if demand from their customers warrants it.

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West spokesman Dave Pleiss said company officials had no comment, pending the final settlement of offering details with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates and oversees public-share sales.

The company, whose headquarters are at 117th Street and Miracle Hills Drive, employs about 3,000 people in the Omaha metropolitan area and 37,500 worldwide.

The company is the largest provider of telephone conference calls, at 134 million last year. Its Intrado unit is the largest vendor of software that makes 911 switchboards work. West also handles computer tasks and customer telephone inquiries for other companies.

Sales last year were $2.6 billion, generating a profit of $126 million.

Shares began trading Friday on the Nasdaq market under the symbol “WSTC.”

The company has said the offering proceeds will be used to pay down debt.

The company was publicly traded from 1996 to 2006, when it was taken private in a $4.1 billion buyout by Boston-based investment partnership Thomas H. Lee Partners, which will control 44 percent of West shares after the IPO.

West Corp. was founded in 1986 by Omaha’s Mary West, who was soon after joined by her husband, Gary West. Both were veterans of the telecommunications and data processing industries. They are now retired in California and have contributed at least $400 million to charities, including many in Omaha via their Gary and Mary West Foundation.

The couple will own about 9 percent of West shares after the IPO and have agreed to not sell them for six months, a provision also agreed to by Thomas H. Lee Partners.

Contact the writer: 402-444-3133, russell.hubbard@owh.com

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