J.H. Whitney-backed Ignite Restaurant Group raised $80.8 million in its IPO, after pricing about 5.8 million shares at $14 apiece, the upper end of its expected price range. While the company sold about 5.6 million of the shares in the offering, selling shareholders sold 196,528 shares. Ignite owns Joe's Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap restaurants. The company's shares closed their first day trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol IRG at $17.13.
Private equity investors aren't shying away from the public markets anymore when it comes to exiting their portfolio companies, unlike last year. In fact, PE investors have taken 23 U.S.-headquartered companies public so far this year, according to the PitchBook Platform, putting 2012 well on its way to surpassing 2011's final tally of 29 PE-backed IPOs. In 1Q 2012 alone, 14 PE-backed companies went public, and so far this quarter, nine have already made the journey.