RealTime IT News

Terraplanet Lists With Hybrid Stock

[Sydney, Australia, May 12, 2000] -- Web site and magazine publisher Terraplanet has braved both post Budget and Nasdaq-based tech stock shakiness to debut on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The publisher unleashed more than 760,000 shares in its listing, opening at AUS$0.42 (US $0.26) and reaching a high of AUS$0.60 (US$0.36), before closing as AUS$0.536 (US$0.32).

The listing follows more than 3000 initial applications for shares. Terraplanet's board eventually decided to limit acceptances to AUS$21.5 million (US$12.9 million), giving the company a market capitalization of AUS$81 million (US$48.6 million).

The response from aspiring shareholders was a positive one given the recent climate surrounding IT stocks, although Terraplanet managing director Lesa-Belle Furhagen said it was the company's established base in magazine publishing that made a difference.

"We are offering a hybrid stock, and have a history with advertisers that dot com start ups don't have to draw on," said Furhagen.

"The response is a result of a combination of online initiatives and our existing offline properties which are already showing real turnover and profits," added Terraplanet chairman John Spira.

These offline initiatives include a number of publications in particularly in the youth market, including Juice, HQ and Recovery magazines. It also produces the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's 24 Hours magazine and architectural publication Monument.

The company has so far launched the juice.net youth portal site as an online spin off of Juice, and Ms. Furhagen said that this would be indicative of Terraplanet's strategy in the wake of its listing.

"We will use the capital raised through the float to launch a network of sites, and to buy and launch more magazines," said Furhagen. "Our offline publications are important, and will remain core to our growth."

As well as creating spin off sites of successful publications, Terraplanet also intends to create online-only media properties that will be targeted at the youth market. The company is also exploring expanding its reach through these sites to other sectors, although it has not yet defined in what specific directions it will head.

Ms. Furhagen said that these sites will appear over the next 12 months, with the first to launch in the next four months.

Terraplanet will also continue to explore content partnerships such as the alliance it has already established with Yahoo! Australia & New Zealand, recruitment site Seek Communications and clothing retailer General Pants.