Lending Club Nabs $9 Billion Valuation in IPO

Lending Club on Thursday shot up 56 percent in its Wall Street debut, making the online lending startup one of the most valuable financial institutions in the country and positioning the once-rogue Internet lending sector to challenge the traditional banking industry.

Shares of Lending Club started trading at $24.75, a 65 percent jump from its $15 per-share price set the previous night, before finishing the day at $23.43. The startup's debut was unfazed by the tumble that rattled Wall Street on Wednesday, when the Dow Jones lost more than 200 points, and it joined other stocks to rally the market back to healthy territory Thursday morning.

"We know that we are going to be measured over the long term and our success will play out over the years, but it was certainly a great way to start the day," said Scott Sanborn, the company's chief operating officer.

The strong debut lifted the company's valuation to $8.5 billion, higher than all but 14 U.S. banks. By the close of Wall Street Thursday, Lending Club's market cap nearly matched the value of Comerica and CIT Group, and surpassed the value of the remaining 820 or so U.S. banks, according to research from FactSet.

In the first public offering from a so-called peer-to-peer lending startup, Lending Club also becomes the 18th-largest IPO out of more than 264 in the U.S. this year, which has had the most deals since 2000, according to market intelligence firm Ipreo. Lending Club raised at least $865.5 million in the deal, which easily exceeds 2014's previous high from a California company, San Mateo action-sports camera maker GoPro's $491.3 million IPO in June.

"A lot of people were critical of this space and dismissed it," said Matt Burton, chief executive of Orchard Platform, a Web platform that connects institutional investors with marketplace lenders. "Now...

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