By  on July 30, 2007

Lululemon Athletica Inc. made its initial public offering Friday, raising $327.6 million with 18.2 million shares of common stock priced at $18 each.

That's twice as much as the $164 million predicted just two weeks ago in its IPO prospectus, in which it said it would offer 16.4 million shares for $10 to $12 per share.

Within an hour, the stock was already up 50 percent to more than $26 and posted an intraday high of $28.64 before closing at $28.

The Vancouver-based yoga company's founder and chairman Chip Wilson presided over the opening bell Friday at Nasdaq, where the stock will trade under "LULUV" until the closing, expected for Aug. 2, when stock will trade under "LULU" on the Nasdaq and "LLL" on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

"We were able to tell our story correctly, and people believe in what we are doing," said Wilson, who founded the company in 1998. "It's a great strive forward for feminine technical clothing, organics, health and sustainability."

Of the 18.2 million shares, the activewear company offered 2,290,909 and selling stockholders offered another 15,909,091. Underwriters have the option to purchase up to an additional 2,730,000 shares from certain of the selling stockholders.

The company, which did almost $150 million in sales last year, opened its first store in 2000 and has 57 doors today. It plans to use proceeds from the IPO to fund new stores and other corporate expenses.

"These stores are real cash machines, and to visit them is a very compelling consumer experience unlike anything else out there in the market," said Matt Powell, an analyst for the consulting firm SportsONESource Inc.

According to a revised preliminary prospectus the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission two weeks ago, comp sales at stores open at least a year were up 25 percent and average sales were $1,400 per square foot.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co. were among the underwriters.

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