RealTime IT News

Netflix Goes Public at $15 a Share

Hoping for an IPO bounce like the one PayPal took after going public, online DVD rental service Netflix Inc. began trading today at a price of $15 per share.

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix sold 5.5 million shares at that price in a bid to raise $83 million with underwriters Merrill Lynch, Thomas Weisel and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

By late morning Netflix was up $1.79 to $16.79. Online payments service PayPal went public in February at $13 and today was trading at more than $25 a share.

The company offers Web customers the chance to rent all the DVD movies they want for $20 a month, with free delivery (and return) by first-class mail and no late fees. As each movie is returned, Netflix automatically mails the next available title on a subscriber's wish list.

Launched in 1998, Netflix now claims more than 600,000 subscribers and has a library of more than 11,500 titles. The company also provides background information on DVD releases, including reviews, member reviews and ratings, and personalized movie recommendations.

For the three months ended March 31, Netflix revenues rose 79 percent to $30.5 million as its subscriber base increased. Net loss fell 82 percent to $3.6 million. For all of 2001, the company took in $75.9 million. It has yet to have a profitable quarter.