Hungry investors snap up OpenTable

Restaurant-reservation company's stock soars on its first day of trading on Nasdaq, gaining nearly 60 percent.

OpenTable was the special of the day on Wall Street on Thursday.

The restaurant-reservation company's stock soared on its first day of trading on Nasdaq, gaining nearly 60 percent to close at $31.89 after selling 3 million shares at $20 a share during its initial public offering Wednesday. Nearly 5 million shares changed hands, trading as high as $35.50.

OpenTable's stock performance is the biggest first-day gain for an IPO since energy-management systems firm Orion Energy Systems gained 65 percent in its debut in December 2007, according to IPO research firm Renaissance Capital.

OpenTable's revenue comes from monthly subscription fees charged to restaurants for access to the company's service, as well as a $1 fee paid by restaurants for each seated guest derived from reservations made on OpenTable's site.

The company earned 2 cents per share on nearly $16 million in revenue in the quarter ended March 31, 2009, and lost 10 cents per share on revenue of $13.2 million in 2008.

The San Francisco-based company says it has 10,000 restaurant customers around the world and has seated more 100 million diners since its inception in 1998.

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