RealTime IT News

Australian Search Engine Files For $150 Million IPO

Australian-controlled Internet directory LookSmart will enter the US sharemarket with a public float that is expected to raise some US$150 million.

The company, which was founded in Australia but is now based in the U.S., has not disclosed the amount of stock to be offered or the estimated initial selling price, according to a report from the Reuters News service.

It has filed with a nominal amount which is expected to be amended to include the specific amount of stock to be sold and at what price, at a later date. The offering will be made through Goldman Sachs & Co., BancBoston Robertson Stephens and Hambrecht & Quist.

Current shareholders in LookSmart include Cox Interactive Media with a 29.7 percent stake, Reader's Digest with 14.1 percent while media baron Kerry Packer has a minor holding. The company's founders, the husband and wife team of Evan Thornley and Tracey Ellery, own 12.1 percent.

A spokesperson for LookSmart said the company was not making any further comments to the press prior to the listing. Earlier this year, Thornley told Internet World Australia magazine that LookSmart was looking to make four or five "aggressive acquisitions before embarking on an IPO." However, this has not been the case.

Instead, LookSmart in March announced that it had raised US$60 million from private investors including the Macquarie Bank Group. In February, it announced a five-year agreement with Microsoft to license its directory content to Microsoft Corp.'s msn.com portal site, which is now responsible for two-thirds of the company's revenue, according to the filing.