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Still Slim Pickins in the IPO Market

There were invitations, party hats and refreshments. After all, the market looked like the good days were back again.

But nothing much happened last week for new issues. Two IPOs were offered but they did not excite investors.

The Brentwood, TN, Community Health (CYH) asked and received $13 for their 18.75 million share offering. (They were originally in the $15 to $17 per share range.) By the end of trading on Friday, it had inched up to 13-11/16, a modest 5 percent gain. The shares were sold on the New York Stock Exchange.

Last year, Community Health had a net loss of over $16 million on revenues of nearly $1.1 billion. They are reported to have over 4,000 beds available in their hospitals that are located primarily in the southeastern and southwestern US.

The lead underwriter was Merrill Lynch.

The other IPO that launched was UbiquiTel. It tried the Nasdaq on Wednesday and saw little interest. It ended its first day at 7-3/8, slightly below its $8 offering price. By Friday, it was at 8-1/8.

UbiquiTel had lowered its offering to $8, which was down from the original range of $13 to $15. It also lowered the number of shares offered to 12.5 million. Still, no enthusiasm.

The Bala Cynwyd, PA, UbiquiTel is one of the regional independents that provide Sprint PCS digital personal communications services. They service the western and midwestern US.

US Unwired, another regional affiliate of Sprint PCS, had their IPO in mid-May. It also had a cool reception. However, since then, it has done better, ending Friday at 16.

Some of the week's other action included the following:

Inventa Technologies provides business-to-business e-Commerce solutions. It was withdrawn by Lehman Brothers.

SmartAge.com is a provider of business-to-small business e-commerce. They also offer online promotional services and products. It was withdrawn by Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

Skystream Networks connects the Internet with broadcast cable, satellite and digital television networks. Goldman, Sachs withdrew the offering.

Arbinet is an Internet-based trading exchange through which telecommunication service providers can buy, sell and deliver to each other international and domestic voice and fax network capacity. Credit Suisse First Boston withdrew the offering.

Chello Broadband is an international provider of broadband Internet services in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Chile. The $363 million IPO was postponed by Goldman, Sachs. However, many expect action here. Either an IPO or a buyout.