PayPal Goes Public

Online payments provider launches public offering after a series of setbacks.

That loud sigh of relief you heard Thursday afternoon came from the Palo Alto, Calif., offices of PayPal, the online payments provider that pushed through a $70.2 million public offering after a series of setbacks. The offering, delayed last week by a patent-infringement lawsuit and then rattled by warnings from state banking regulators, priced 5.4 million shares at $13.

The offering, with Salomon Smith Barney as the lead underwriter, was priced in the middle of its estimated range of $12 to $14 a share. Not having to lower its price is a good sign for those who had hoped PayPal would be the vanguard of a new round of technology companies debuting on the public markets.

PayPal will open trading Friday on Nasdaq under the symbol "PYPL."

Louisiana authorities shut down PayPal Tuesday, saying it "constituted an unauthorized banking business." More states could follow suit. Banking licensing regulations don't apply, PayPal argues; it's applying for money services business licenses in 15 states and the District of Columbia and already has those licenses in Oregon and West Virginia.

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