RealTime IT News

IPO Market Pauses

Monday looks like a day of rest between Friday's wild IPO fest and the flood of public offerings expected this week.

Nine companies made their ticker debuts Friday, including several Internet players. And while the explosive gain for shares of optical networking vendor Avanex (AVNX) (up 378 percent) attracted the most attention - as one would expect from the 10th-best first-day IPO performance of all time - it was one of the other offerings that caught my eye.

eOn Communications (EONC), which makes Linux-based communications servers and software, finished Friday with a 92 percent gain, closing at $23 after offering 3 million shares at $12. While most companies could live with nearly doubling in value in their first day of trading, EONC appears to be have set a mark for the worst debut yet by a Linux company.

Other Linux debuts: Red Hat (RHAT)Red Hat - up 272 percent VA Linux Systems (LNUX) - up 698 percent Cobalt Networks (COBT) - up 482 percent Andover.Net (ANDN) - 252 percent

That's pretty fast company to keep. Even more embarrassing, EONC opened at 31 1/8 before falling during the day. (What will the Linux neighbors say!)

Fortunately, eOn rebounded Monday, climbing nearly 15 percent to 26 3/8 by Monday afternoon.

Another noteworthy Friday debut came from FirePond (FIRE), a seller of integrated e-commerce sales and marketing software. Shares of FIRE soared to 100-1/4 by day's end, a 356 percent increase over the $22 per share offer price. I thought this IPO would do well, but it even exceeded my expectations.

Over the year we'll start to see B2B e-commerce companies position themselves to stand out from the pack. Or in the case of eMerge Interactive (EMRG), the herd.

eMmerge, which operates a Web site targeting the cattle industry, gained 215 percent in its first day of trading on Friday. The company's site offers live cattle sales and auctions, news and information and software for running a cattle business.

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