Bankrate.com (RATE:NASD) Rides Again

Bankrate went public for a second time on June 17th at $15 per share, valuing the company at $1.5 billion, or about 5x 2010 revenues, and potentially 3x 2011 revenues.  This is after the 2009 LBO by Apax Partners, which valued the firm at $575 million.  Yes, the bull is back, as LBO IPO's are a sign of the ebullience of the financial markets.  

Apax was able to buy Bankrate for a relatively low sum, taking advantage of the impact of the financial crisis on the Company's valuation.    Advertising for mortgages is Bankrate's major source of revenue; needless to say this was negatively impacting Bankrate's financial results, at the time.  

While private, Bankrate.com was able to bulk up by purchasing Creditcards.com for $145 million and NetQuote for $205 million, expanding into the credit card and insurance segments.  To be sure, those companies look like nice additions to the Company's business  portfolio.  That, the somewhat recovering financial markets, and recent successes of Groupon and Pandora IPO's made the Bankrate IPO possible.

While the IPO hasn't been a runaway success, the IPO price seems to be holding its own, closing at $15.35 four days later.  As with all iPO's the true test is 12 and 24 months down the road, as being a publicly owned company is a marathon, not a sprint.