Visa gets $US 18-billion boost through IPO

It’s called the most lucrative initial public offering in U.S. history. Credit card giant Visa has raised nearly $US 18 billion despite a growing financial crisis in the country.

The company sold over 40 million shares, at a higher than expected price of $US 44, as investors seized on its growth potential and lack of direct exposure to the global credit crisis.

The stock will begin trading on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

The IPO is expected to bolster the wobbly financial services sector.

Visa is using over $US 10 billion of proceeds to buy back stock held by its largest shareholders, including banks JP Morgan, Bank of America, National City Corp and Citigroup.