One Year Later - Inktomi, NetGravity And Beyond.com
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A year ago this month three Internet companies with vastly different business models went public. Today shares of all three are trading well above their respective first-day closing price, with one company in particular emerging as a favorite among investors and analysts.
In order of IPO date, here's a look at how each member of the Class of June 1998 has fared:
Inktomi Corp. was best-known for its search engine technology at the time of its June 10 initial public offering last year, but even back then the San Mateo, Calif.-based company was betting a large part of its future on its solution to the bandwidth constraints faced by ISPs and large corporate networks.
The company's cluster-technology based Traffic Server has attracted customers such as America Online and Digex, while helping Inktomi increase revenues to $14.6 million in the quarter ended March 31, a 323 percent increase over the year-ago quarterly sales of $3.5 million. Meanwhile, the quarterly net loss fell from $4.8 million a year ago to $4.6 million.
Investors also have noticed Inktomi's strong positioning in the caching and search engine markets, as well as its expansion into Shopping Engine software for portals and its recently announced directory-generation technology.
After an impressive debut, Inktomi (INKT) shares closed at $36 on the first day of trading, a 100% gain over the $18 offer price - the stock climbed above $50 in November and surged above $100 in April. While it has come down from a high of $159.13 on April 12, Inktomi still has plenty of altitude, trading early Thursday afternoon at $115.
Online advertising and direct marketing software seller NetGravity Inc., also based in San Mateo, barely closed above its $9 offer price on June 12, 1998, finishing the day at $9.75. As of Thursday afternoon, (NETG) shares were selling at $19.25 -- almost twice that price.
In between then and now, however, NetGravity missed much of the wild run-up experienced by many other Internet stocks. A steep price rise begun in mid-March pulled NETG shares as high as $66.88 on April 12. By May 25, though it fell below $20 a share once more.
The quick descent was triggered by a first-quarter earnings report in mid-April that showed only a 10% growth in revenues over Q4 '98, though more than twice the revenues reported in Q1 '98. Net loss also increased in Q1 to $3.75 million from $2.8 million a year earlier.
When online retailer Beyond.com Corp. went public last June 17, it was known as software.net and traded under the symbol SWNT. The company's initial offering was for 5 million shares at $9 each, and the first-day close of $13.25 showed a 47% gain.
Beyond.com, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., was trading early Thursday afternoon at $21.88. Save for a couple of brief spikes and a recent mild dip, shares have been selling between $20 and $30 a share since early December.
The company's first name accurately described what it did then and what it still does - sell off-the-shelf software via the Internet to consumers, businesses and government agencies.
(BYND) shares got a 35% bump on June 4 when it won a software contract with the Internal Revenue Service.
A few weeks earlier the stock rose on news of lower-than-expected losses and higher-than-expected revenues inthe first quarter.
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