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Associated Press
Bloomin’ Brands held a sampling in New York’s Times Square to celebrate the company’s first day of trading on Wednesday.

IPO blooms for owners of Outback

Shares rise 12.8% on first day of trading on Nasdaq board

– Shares of Bloomin’ Brands, which operates Outback Steakhouse and other restaurant chains, are proving a tasty treat for investors, though only after the portion size was reduced.

Shares rose $1.41, or 12.8 percent to close at $12.42 on Wednesday in the stock’s first trading day on the Nasdaq.

The positive reaction from investors is a good sign for other IPOs expected this week. But it comes only after the company reduced its offering price and cut the number of shares that selling shareholders were offering, a sign that companies should keep expectations muted about how much cash they’ll reap by going public.

“It was really downsized in both size and price so it would be an easily digestible offering for individual investors,” said Sam Hamadeh, CEO of PrivCo, a research firm that follows privately held companies.

Bloomin’ Brands IPO was the biggest debut since Facebook’s disappointing entry in May chilled the market.

Other companies scheduled to go public later this week include Carl’s Jr. owner CKE Inc. and British soccer club Manchester United.

Late Tuesday, the Tampa, Fla.-based Bloomin’ Brands priced its initial public offering of 16 million shares at $11 a share, below the $13 to $15 a share expected, for gross proceeds of $176 million.

Originally, Bloomin’ Brands and selling shareholders each planned to sell 10.7 million shares, for a total of about 21 million.

The company said it will use proceeds to pay down debt, working capital and general corporate purposes.

Bloomin’ Brands’ other chains include Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Bonefish Grill. It operates more than 1,400 restaurants in 48 states and 20 countries. Its name comes from a deep-fried onion carved to resemble a flower.