Softcat valued its shares at 240p, and they climbed as high as 270p in early trading. It said the IPO allowed its founders to sell down their stakes and the group would receive no proceeds from the flotation.
Founder Peter Kelly set up the firm in 1993 and has described himself as a “weird and eccentric entrepreneur.” He sold just over a third of his stake, raising an estimated £88m. He retains a holding of around 33 percent, which is worth around £150 million.
Kelly ran the company until 2006 and was its chairman until three years ago, owning around half the equity before the listing.
Martin Hellawell, chief executive, owned 12 percent of the business, valued at £56 million. He sold a third of his holding.
The float also created a number of paper millionaires among its employees. Staff, excluding founders, own some 24 percent of the company.
Kelly hitchhiked around the world before joining Xerox sales in 1981. His past ventures include founding a recruitment firm, and he launched an Apple dealership in 1988 before going on to found Softcat in 1993.
Started as a mail-order software firm, it has grown to become a major reseller to Microsoft and other large providers, as well as providing data centres for small businesses across the UK.
The group’s sales last year rose 18 pe cent to £596m with profits of £40.6 million. Hellawell said in a statement: “We are delighted with the outcome of the IPO process thus far and now look forward to fully focusing on the running and future development of our business.”
Vin Murria joined the board. She is one of the UK’s longest-standing female IT entrepreneurs, she ran Advanced Computer Software until it was taken over by US private equity group Vista Partners last year in a £725 million deal.