shares have traded under the symbol “RHAT” since the company went public in 1999. That symbol may soon change.
The Raleigh-based Linux software developer and services provider said Friday after the markets closed that it want to move its stock listing to the New York Stock Exchange as of Dec. 12.
About as well known as the Hatters’ trademark red fedoras, the RHAT trading symbol became well established among tech stock traders from the launch of its initial public offering on Aug. 11 of 1999. After opening at $14, shares tripled by the close of trading at $52. That gave Red Hat a market value at the time of $3 billion.
If approved by the NYSE, Red Hat would receive a new symbol: RHT.
"The move to the New York Stock Exchange is a significant event for Red Hat,” said Charlie Peters, Red Hat’s chief financial officer. “We believe that listing on the New York Stock Exchange will increase Red Hat's visibility among investors, reduce trading volatility and offer more efficient pricing.”
Red Hat noted that the company has been profitable for 14 consecutive quarters and it has a current market cap of $3 billion. RHAT closed down Friday at $16.67, off 12 cents.
However, Red Hat stock has been hammered recently by developments in the Linux and open source software marketplace. Oracle, a Red Hat partner, recently announced plans to undercut Red Hat service pricing. The news drove Red Hat shares down to a 52-week low of $13.70. Then Microsoft and Novell, Red Hat’s bitter rival in Linux with its SUSE Linux brand, announced a partnership.
On Thursday, Red Hat declined an offer of partnership from Microsoft.
To reduce the number of available shares and to bolster its stock price, Red Hat's board of directors recently approved a $325 million stock and debt repurchase plan.
The NYSE appears inclined to accept Red Hat’s application.
“Red Hat is a great brand, innovator, and leading global technology enterprise,” said John Thain, chief executive officer of NYSE Group, in a statement. “As the world’s leading open source solution provider, Red Hat is redefining its industry and providing exceptional value to customers throughout the world. We welcome Red Hat to the New York Stock Exchange and look forward to providing the highest levels of service and market quality to the company and its shareholders.”
Red Hat’s 52-week high is $32.48.
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