The biggest IPO of 2014 has landed with a thud. The initial public offering for Ally Financial (NYSE:ALLY) began trading on the New York Stock Exchange today, but has been met by a flurry of selling as the overall market tumbles. The new stock was down just over 4% as of 1:45 PM ET today, trading at $23.99.
Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Barclays PLC (ADR) (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) acted as the lead underwriters for the offering.
The 95 million shares offered were priced at $25 each. The previously mentioned expected price range had been $25-$28. Ally Financial (NYSE:ALLY) is valued at about $12 billion based on the initial offering price.
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Treasury Department statement
The U.S. government owned a 36.8% stake in Ally Financial (NYSE:ALLY) due to a bailout of the company during the 2008 financial crisis, but will recoup much of its investment with the IPO. The Treasury will only own 17.1% of the company post-IPO. “Treasury will continue to evaluate exit strategies for its remaining Ally investment … as soon as practicable, and in a way that maximizes taxpayer value,” read a statement released Wednesday.
BTIG rates Ally Financial a Buy
Mark Palmer of BTIG Equity Research published an investment report on Ally Financial (NYSE:ALLY) today, April 10th. Palmer initiates coverage of the auto lender with a Buy and places a $31 price target on the stock.
Palmer elaborates on his bull thesis for Ally below. “Ally Financial (NYSE:ALLY)’s IPO reduced the U.S. government’s stake in the company to 17%, and the company is poised to fully repay the remaining amount it still owes from TARP. The reimbursement should afford ALLY the flexibility to increase its deposit funding from Ally Bank (currently 41% of overall funding) and thereby reduce its cost of funds. Moreover, we think ALLY is well positioned to reclaim investment grade credit ratings, which should further improve its funding costs.”
Transformation to domestic auto finance company
By the same token, Palmer argues that Ally Financial (NYSE:ALLY)’s efforts to shed non-core assets and focus on its strengths in auto lending has allowed it to shed overhead and keep expenses down. “ALLY’s transformation from a multi-business line, multinational company to a focused, domestic auto finance company has provided it with it ample opportunities to rationalize its footprint and reduce its non-interest expense.”