MetroPCS IPO was 13 years in the making

US mobile phone service provider MetroPCS has raised $1.15 billion in its initial public offering – the largest amount raised so far by a US IPO this year and an exit for which some of its investors waited more than a decade.

MetroPCS has raised $1.15 billion (€846.5 million) in an initial public offering, the largest of the year thus far in the United States. The offering represented 14 percent of the company’s shares, and gave it a market capitalization of $8 billion.

Dallas, Texas-based MetroPCS has twice abandoned prior IPO plans in its 13-year history, during which it’s had more than a dozen rounds of funding (in its first 10 years alone, it raised more than $414 million).

Private investors holding more than 5 percent of MetroPCS capital stock – in some cases more than 13 percent – include Columbia Capital, TA Associates, Madison Dearborn Capital Partners, M/C Venture Partners, Technology Venture Associates, First Plaza Group Trust and Whitney & Co. One of the company’s earliest investors, Silicon Valley venture firm Accel Partners, is remaining “on board”, according to an online Red Herring report.

In its decade-plus of fundraising, MetroPCS has attracted numerous private investors including Battery Ventures, Silver Creek Ventures, Wells Fargo, New York Life Insurance, Key Principal Partners, HarbourVest Venture Partners, and the Pension Reserves Investment Management Board.

Originally founded in 1994 as General Wireless, the firm was forced to declare bankruptcy after losing hundreds of millions of dollars on its purchase of a block of Federal Communications licenses. It reemerged in October of that year as MetroPCS.

MetroPCS provides monthly flat-rate mobile phone service without contract requirements. It has more than 3 million subscribers and provides service in 14 of the largest 25 major metropolitan areas in the United States.

The wireless communication company’s shares soared more than 19 percent on its first day of trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, closing at $27.40.