Ready, Set, IPO

Shares in the initial public offering of Accenture were unleashed this afternoon. Accenture is trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ACN.

The 115 million shares were offered at $14.50 and rose to as high as $15.10. The IPO put $1.67 billion into the company, and represented approximately 12 percent of the company's outstanding shares.

Analysts' gloomy predictions for the success of the offering were based on concerns about a tight economy in which many corporations are seen to be cutting back on consulting expenses, and the lackluster performance of stock offerings of KPMG Consulting and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, both of which are valued at significantly less than they were at the beginning of the year.

Bloomberg Business conducted a brief interview with Joe Forehand, Chief Executive of Accenture, on the afternoon of the IPO. You can read the transcript of that interview.

Accenture's IPO was orchestrated by the joint underwriting syndicate of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Morgan Stanley. The underwriters were given an option to purchase an additional 17.25 million shares to cover over-allotments.

Meanwhile, Accenture rival Deloitte Consulting announced it was "pleased not to announce an IPO" in a full-page ad that appeared in today's Wall Street Journal. Deloitte has indicated its belief that publicly traded companies are likely to pay more attention to stock analysts than they are to the needs of their clients.

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