VMware IPO shares soar 79 per cent on debut

In its much anticipated initial public offering (IPO), VMware's shares soared 79 per cent yesterday, sending the stock as high as $52 (26) on the New York Stock Exchange, up from Monday's set price of $29 (14.50).

The virtualisation firm's parent company EMC sold 33 million class A shares - some nine per cent of the 375 million shares of common stock in VMware. Underwriters have an option to buy an additional 4.95 million shares. It will be traded under the symbol "VMW". By 4:45pm BST, the shares were up 75 per cent to $50.

VMware has so far topped this year's previously highest performing American-listed IPO, that of Fortress Group, which climbed 67.6 per cent when it debuted on February 8 of this year.

Philip Dawson, vice president of research at analyst firm Gartner, said the IPO was good news for the market-leading virtualisation firm. "I think there's a lot in this for VMware," he said. "EMC had to get closer or more remote... being so close was leaving them in limbo a bit."

He said the stock market moves makes virtualisation a much more interesting area. "It makes it quite an interesting market, and allows them to extend their lead," Dawson said. "But it does expose them to risk a little bit more... but this is absolutely the right thing to do."