RealTime IT News

Sizzlefest: Internet IPOs Soar and Here Comes More

There's anecdotal evidence that Wall Street may be starting to understand that the Internet is a major turning point in the evolution of entire industries: the last three Internet stock IPOs we ran through the abacus showed 238% average gain as a group.

ISDEX, Internet Stock Index, is up more than 70% year to date. That may bode well for three Internet public offerings hurling down the water slide that now looks like a fixture on Wall Street through summer to year's end.

We don't need to go into Broadcast.com's record-setting IPO which soared 279% its first day out of the chute. The amazing thing in our book is that Broadcast.com has no real brand recognition. And still a week after going public BCST shares retained most of its run, up 236% from the $18 per share initial public offering price. Of course no retail investor got a piece of that "wholesale-like" price.

Three Amigos: Recent Internet IPOs
Internet stock IPO price Price July 20 % Change
Broadcast.com $ 18.00 $ 60.50 236%
Inktomi $ 18.00 $ 69.69 287%
NetGravity $ 9.00 $ 22.06 145%
TOTAL/WEIGHTED AVERAGE $ 45.00 $ 152.25 238%

Inktomi (NASDAQ:INKT), software search engine provider to Yahoo! and Microsoft, as well as a network caching software maker, climbed more than 287% from IPO to July 20.

Netgravity (NASDAQ:NETG) came out and stumbled before investors started believing it could be a contender for DoubleClick (NASDAQ:DCLK), even though NetGravity provides ad software. DoubleClick is an ad network, a slightly different animal.

With such strong after-market burners we think the summer and fall could continue to churn out Internet offerings at record levels. The difference between now and 1994 when we first eyed Internet stocks is that now they are front and center, message boards provide people with an easy way to share thoughts, information distribution is wider, and several home runs have been hit in the Net IPO ballpark to drive interest.

On tap in order of best known to least known: GeoCities, Cyberian Outpost and Digital River.

While GeoCities cautiously hasn't revealed shares offered, target price or pro forma much of anything, we expect it to be over-subscribed to the level of hysteria. If Broadcast.com went ballistic on market madness then GeoCities, a category creator and leader, could break BCST's record for percent gains.

We think GeoCities could price the works at $575 million market cap with 5 million to 6 million shares offered at north of $25 per share, ending its first day north of $1.5 billion to $2 billion.

Cyberian priced 4 million shares at $14 and Digital River, which has a network of software stores on numerous Web sites, priced 3.2 million shares at $11.


Cyberian Outpost

Digital River


Proposed ticker




Does what?

software/hardware etailer

software etailer


Shares offered








Target share price

$ 14.00

$ 11.00


Gross proceeds

$ 58.40

$ 40.48

$ 72.45

Shares outstanding




IPO market cap

$ 308.24

$ 186.05






Fully-diluted shares (FDS)




FDS market cap

$ 375.21

$ 225.83


Working capital

$ 62.43

$ 39.89


Long-term debt

$ -

FDS enterprise value

$ 312.78

$ 185.94


Latest full-year revenue

$ 22.70

$ 2.47


Latest quarter revenue

$ 11.56

$ 3.48


Est. calendar (CY) 1998 revenue

$ 33.33

$ 14.25

$ 15.00

Latest quarter (losses)




FDS enterprise/latest year rev.




FDS enterprise/CY1998




Peer revenue multiple/CY1998




Employees (full-time)




Enterprise value/employee

$ 3.60

$ 2.45

Latest quarter revenue/employee

$ 0.13

$ 0.05

$ 0.02

Lead underwriter




all figures in millions except share price, multiples (c) 1998 Mecklermedia, Internet.com. Click here for more Internet stock reports

Our analysis puts Cyberian at 9.4x estimated calendar year 1998 revenue vs. rival Egghead.com's (NASDAQ:EGGS) 4.1x. Digital River, meanwhile, looks like it may be at a discount on revenue multiple basis vs. Software.net (NASDAQ:SWNT), which we forecast could be at 17.9x revenue to Digital River's 13x.

Both Egghead and Software.net have $500 million market caps or 60% to 160% more than the IPO market caps of Cyberian or Digital River, respectively.

With the IPO market on white hot pitch, however, we expect Cyberian, Digital River and GeoCities to bump the price and shares just before they go. While GeoCities revenue forecast for this year looks thin, we think 1999 and 2000 revenue may be the ones to start the flow.

With its 15 million users GeoCities market cap could exceed Lycos-Tripod (NASDAQ:LCOS), or more than $1 billion its first day, perhaps even $2 billion. Enjoying a top-10 slot in Relevant Knowledge's monthly surveys helps GeoCities in its value hunt. Consider that if its users were held at $100 each (the average for the top-10 is $121 or $104 without Yahoo!) that implies about a $1.5 billion value for GeoCities. To get more info on any of these IPOs contact the underwriters for each offering shown in the table.

One thing's for sure so far this summer, the heat is on and the IPO slide looks very wet.

Q&A of the day:

Why haven't direct IPOs on the Internet been a hit? Will they be? Click here and email us now with your answers!