Safeway’s Prepaid Card Issuer Files for IPO

Credit cards
Source: Thinkstock
The unit of Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) that issues gift cards and other prepaid and reloadable cards this morning filed a Form S-1 with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering. The unit, which will be called Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc., will trade on the Nasdaq Exchange under the ticker symbol HAWK.

Safeway currently owns about 96% of Blackhawk and “will continue to hold shares of Class B common stock representing a significant majority of the combined voting power” of Blackhawk’s outstanding shares after the offering. The lead underwriters for the offering are Goldman Sachs, BofA/Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank Securities.

According to the filing, Blackhawk currently counts among its gift-card customers such high-profile companies as Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW), Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M), Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) and Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iTunes. The company also serves the three large payment networks: American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP), Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) and Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA). Blackhawk also issues reloadable cards for Green Dot Corp. (NYSE: GDOT) among others, including its own PayPower brand.

Blackhawk’s filing indicates that the company will receive none of the net proceeds from the offering. Class A shares will have one vote and Class B shares will have 10 votes on all matters that are put to a shareholder vote.

According to the filing, Blackhawk posted net income of $48.165 million in 2012 on operating revenues of $959.07 million, up from $362 million in revenues and $22.7 million in operating profits in 2001, the year the company was founded.

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