Shares of Burger King's parent company rose 3% from their initial public offering price Thursday, in their first day of trading.
"It's a historic day for Burger King," said John Chidsey, chief executive of Burger King Holdings Inc. "We've been waiting 52 years for this day. It's an honor for us to finally be public."
Burger King sold 25 million shares of common stock at $17 each in its IPO, completed late Wednesday. The shares represent about 19% of the company's total, putting its overall value at about $2.25 billion.
That still leaves the nation's second-biggest hamburger chain far behind its two biggest rivals -- McDonald's Corp., which has a market value of about $43 billion, and No. 3 Wendy's, which is worth about $7 billion.
Its shares rose 50 cents to close at $17.50 on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BKC. They traded as high as $18.15 earlier in the day.
Burger King raised $393 million in net proceeds from the offering to pay off debt. The total value of the IPO was $425 million before underwriters' commissions and fees. That makes it one of the biggest restaurant IPOs, according to Thomson Financial.