Textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt prices IPO at $12 a share-Reuters

(Reuters) – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Co, the textbook publisher that emerged from bankruptcy last year, priced its initial public offering at $12 per share, below the range it guided towards earlier this month.

A total of 18.3 million shares were sold in the offering, all of which came from selling stockholders, including hedge fund billionaire John Paulson, the company’s biggest stockholder with a 23 percent stake. At the listing price, the company is valued at about $1.68 billion.

Other prominent shareholders who sold their holdings in the IPO include Anchorage Funds, Avenue Capital Management II LP, and Blackrock Funds.

The Boston-based company, which has been publishing books since 1832, emerged from bankruptcy in 2012 when bondholders of some $3 billion in debt received equity in the company.

Houghton, which earlier expected to price the IPO at between $14 and $16 per share, is slated to debut on the Nasdaq on Thursday under the symbol “HMHC.”

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were the lead underwriters to the offering.