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Reuters: GNC IPO Raises $360M, Trades Up at Market Open UPDATED

NEW YORK, March 31 – GNC Holdings Inc, a U.S. retailer of wellness and nutrition products, raised $360 million in its third attempt at an IPO on Thursday, a market source said.

GNC and its stockholders sold 22.5 million shares for $16 each, the source said. They had planned to sell the stock for $15 to $17 per share. UPDATE: In early trading Friday, GNC shares rose several percentage points, to around $16.50.

GNC, which markets vitamins, herbal supplements and sports nutrition products, originally proposed the IPO in September after a failed acquisition by China’s Bright Food Group.

Apollo Global Management, GNC’s previous owner that also listed on NYSE this week, had tried to take GNC public twice before selling the store chain to Ares Management LLC and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board in 2007.

The company reported net income growth of 19 percent to $97 million in 2010. GNC’s earnings per share on a diluted basis grew 47 percent to 85 cents per share in 2010 and 35 percent to 58 cents per share in 2009.

GNC’s shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “GNC” on Friday.

Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan led underwriters on the IPO.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Gary Hill and Carol Bishopric)