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RealTime IT News

Bookseller Leads Barrage of Internet IPOs

If the calendars are even close to on target, as many as 10 Internet IPOs could begin trading this week.

The offerings includes one bona fide marquee IPO and three from companies that provide investment-related news, research and services to the online trading community.

This week's "name" Internet IPO, of course, is barnesandnoble.com, the online spinoff of books retailer Barnes & Noble and German media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG. Trading under the Nasdaq symbol BNBN, barnesandnoble.com plans to offer 25 million (yes, it says "25") shares in the $16 to $18 price range in hopes of raising $425 million. Expect the actual offer price to be at least $20.

(Check out a recent Morning Report in which Steve Harmon analyzes this IPO.)

It is the second try at an IPO for barnesandnoble.com, which filed the first time last September, only to postpone the offering a couple of weeks later after Bertelsmann paid Barnes & Noble $200 million for a 50% stake in the online venture.

Ironically, the day barnesandnoble.com announced its first IPO filing, incoming Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff reportedly said the German company would likely get into the online bookselling business by itself.

In November, the corporate partners named a new CEO for barnesandnoble.com -- Jonathan Bulkeley, former managing director of Bertelsmann's joint European venture with AOL.

Underwriters for the online bookseller's IPO are Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney and Wit Capital.

Comprising the three investment-related IPOs are two online brokers and the most comprehensive online source for real-time information about Securities and Exchange Commission filings. They are:

  • onlinetradinginc.com, an Internet broker that targets wealthy investors and small- to medium-sized institutional investors. This IPO was discussed in a recent StockTracker column.

  • DLJdirect, a tracking stock for Wall Street investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Begun a decade ago as PC Financial Network, DLJdirect provides investors with trading services, market research, securities trading primers and personalized portfolios. It also is the only place online where investors can get in on DLJ-underwritten IPOs (of which, obviously, this is one).

    Through aggressive Web marketing and its built-in brand name, DLJdirect is on the short list of most popular online brokerages, along with E*TRADE, Ameritrade and Charles Schwab, the biggest online broker.

    DLJdirect had $118 million in revenues last year (up from $67 million in 1997) and - here's something you don't see every day in the Internet universe - a profit of $1.5 million.

    The company is offering 16 million shares in the $18 to $20 price range. It will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DIR.

  • EDGAR Online, which has set an offer range of $8.50 to $9.50 per share for 3 million shares. Proposed NASDAQ ticker is EDGR; lead underwriter is C.E. Unterberg, Towbin.

This site offers Web users full SEC filings covering a range of corporate activities, including IPO registrations, secondary stock sale registrations, annual reports and proxy statements. Given that the wealth of information is free, it's no surprise that EDGAR Online is a first-stop for investors seeking financial information on companies both public and planning to go public.

Edgar's revenue doubled to $2 million last year from $1 million in '97, while net losses increased in that same time from to $2.2 million from$1.5 million.

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