Thrift store operator Savers valued at nearly $4 billion in market debut

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By Sri Hari N S and Niket Nishant

(Reuters) -Thrift store operator Savers Value Village fetched a market capitalization of nearly $4 billion in a strong debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, underscoring a resurgence in the IPO market as investors lap up new listings.

Savers Value, owned by private equity firm Ares Management, joins a host of companies that have enjoyed a warm reception in recent months, reviving hopes the frosty IPO market has begun to thaw.

The debuts could also spur other IPO hopefuls into listing their shares after waiting out the stormy economic climate last year.

"Combined with lower volatility and the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to pause rate hikes, we expect the IPO window to widen as we head into the second half of the year," Avery Spear, senior data analyst at Renaissance Capital, said.

Last month, Johnson & Johnson's consumer health business, Kenvue, completed the largest IPO since Rivian Automotive listed in 2021.

"Successful debuts from several large IPOs have signaled increasing demand for bigger deals," Spear added.

However, investors turned a cold shoulder to two other companies that also started trading on Thursday, highlighting that traders are being picky and demand for new stock listings is still far from the peak of 2021.

Shares of energy contractor Kodiak Gas Services and insurance firm Fidelis Insurance Holdings ticked down in their debut.

Savers had disclosed earlier that Ares was retaining an 88% stake in the company.

"Being nine times larger than the next largest for-profit thrift operator, we didn't have a strategic (buyer) that could buy us. So really this (an IPO) was the right smart option for us to move forward," said Savers Value CEO Mark Walsh.

The stock opened at $24.77 per share, 38% above the IPO price of $18 per share.

Savers Value and Ares raised over $401 million in the share sale on Wednesday.

Canada's Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan and Norway's Norges Bank Investment Management had indicated an interest in buying $130 mln of Savers Value shares in the IPO, according to a disclosure earlier.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant and Sri Hari N S in Bengaluru and Echo Wang in New York; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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