The classified ads website is selling shares at 235p Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Car marketplace Auto Trader's shares have made their debut on the London Stock Exchange, valuing the business at a whopping £2.35bn (€3.27bn, $3.49bn).

The shares were priced at 235p a pop; at one stage, within the first 15 minutes of trading, they rose in value to 265p.

The initial public offering, which was announced on 26 February, is predicted to raise around £437m (€607.8m, $651.6m) for the firm, which will be used to pay off existing debt.

Auto Trader moved to a solely online platform in June 2013 after years of dwindling circulation – some 36 years after it originally went to print.

This transition was accelerated by UK private equity group Apax Partners, which bought 49.9% of Auto Trader from the Guardian Media Group in 2007 and subsequently took full control in 2014 for £619m.

The Guardian's owners said at the time of selling Auto Trader that it needed to generate funds to ensure the future of the media group.

Today Auto Trader proudly describes itself as "the UK's largest digital automotive marketplace".