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RealTime IT News

There's Still Action in the IPO Market

Investors, whether they are big institutions or day traders, are uncertain about chasing tech stocks higher, even in the face of robust first-quarter earnings. This skepticism means that IPOs have been postponed and withdrawn.

Netease.com, a Chinese Web site offering a number of online services, has postponed its IPO. Techies, Linuxcare, Annuncio Software, and Zefer have also withdrawn their IPOs.

Despite this, there is still action in the IPO market. A couple IPOs did see the light of day this week, although we haven't seen such a weak performance in months.

On Wednesday, Cambridge, England-headquartered Autonomy Corp (AUTN) listed 2.2 million shares at $124 per share. It had been trading on the pan-European high-tech Easdaq in Brussels. By Friday, its Nasdaq price was 119-1/8.

Autonomy's bayesian-based software reads unstructured documents (i.e., Lotus Notes, emails, etc.) and ranks main ideas, as well as inserts hyperlinks to related subjects. It has worldwide offices, including the U.S., Australia, Europe and Africa.

Autonomy was the winner of "The 1999 Internet World Annual Industry Award-Workgroup Software Category" at the Spring Internet World '99. Some of its customers include the Department of Defense, Lucent Technologies, and Morgan Stanley.

Autonomy recently announced that Tesco, the biggest e-grocer in the world, will use Autonomy's technology to create "personal shopping assistants" on Tesco's online shopping service. This will provide personalized service to customers using either personal computers or mobile phones.

The lead underwriter was Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown.

The other IPO was on Friday. Sequoia Software gained 26 percent over its offering price of $8. The company's shares closed at 10 1/16. They raised over $33 million by selling 4.2 million shares (basically, a small amount).

Sequoia Software is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland. Their XML Portal Server (XPS), based on the eXtensible Markup Language (XML), allows sharing of information among customers, employers, and suppliers in real-time. Their overseas operations are based in Dublin, Ireland.

Sequoia's applications are found in the manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, insurance, and telecommunications industries. Last year, Deloitte & Touche recognized Sequoia as one of the fastest growing technology companies in the nation. But in this environment, it wasn't enough to juice the IPO.

Lehman Brothers was the lead underwriter.