RealTime IT News

IPO Index: A River Runs Through It

With stocks taking cues from a bad episode of Jerry Springer meets the Starr Report where the unexpected is the norm, Internet.com's IPO Index tuned into a program of a different nature this past week. The focus is on the pure discovery channel, featuring liquidity of another sort: software wholesale e-tail network Digital River (NASDAQ:DRIV).

DRIV debuted August 11 to zero fanfare, no splash and plenty of burned investors who bought shares in a company that owns 19% of DRIV, Tech Squared. Ouch!

DRIV's less-than-gushing IPO, however, seems to have found a few believers lately as DRIV shares gained 24% to $7.50 since September 10.

INTERNET.COM'S

Ticker

Share price

Share price

% change

% change

IPO INDEX

symbol

9/17/98

9/10/98

week

from IPO

Digital River

DRIV

$7.50

$6.06

23.7%

-11.8%

Broadcom

BRCM

$72.81

$66.50

9.5%

203.4%

Netgravity

NETG

$10.19

$9.44

7.9%

13.2%

CDnow

CDNW

$8.63

$8.00

7.8%

-46.1%

24/7 Media

TFSM

$11.13

$10.50

6.0%

-20.5%

WavePhore

WAVO

$5.81

$5.50

5.7%

-38.0%

Inktomi

INKT

$62.94

$62.88

0.1%

249.7%

GeoCities

GCTY

$22.88

$23.75

-3.7%

34.6%

ISS Group

ISSX

$27.44

$28.56

-3.9%

24.7%

Cyberian Outpost

COOL

$7.31

$7.88

-7.1%

-59.4%

Broadcast.com

BCST

$35.63

$38.75

-8.1%

97.9%

Exodus

EXDS

$17.00

$20.88

-18.6%

13.3%

TOTAL

289.25

288.69

AVERAGE

24.10

24.06

0.2%

52.8%

) 1998 Mecklermedia (NASDAQ:MECK), Internet.com

Digital River provides more than 1,600 software publishers and online dealers back-end turnkey solutions to sell more than 120,000 software and other digital products.

While that may not offer DRIV the kind of brand-bang that gets Wall Street excited, over time we believe providing a network of software sales looks an awful lot like what DoubleClick (NASDAQ:DCLK) does with ads.

Only this is software distribution and not advertising. It's the network that matters. Another example may be Amazon's affiliate model, which is another name for bookselling network. Get passed the semantics and the essence looks similar.

CDnow (NASDAQ:CDNW), which almost went the way of the LP in the past few months, showed some signs of life on deals it struck that allows its customers to buy custom CDs with whatever songs they wish. CDnow offers 300,000 songs and is featured on Yahoo!, Lycos, Lycos-Bertelsmann, Webcrawler, Tripod, Geocities, MTV/VH1, Rolling Stone Network, and CBS.com.

We think CDnow's blending of old and new (customization) adds a much-needed dimension to its offering. While not unique, CDnow, as the leading music seller on the Web, can now offer this to its 600,000 customers.

Wavephore's (NASDAQ:WAVO) 5.7% rise to $5.81 per share may come as little consolation to a firm with big ideas and little stock movement. Consider the story and stats from its company news vault: "WavePhore's WaveTop allows PC's equipped with a TV tuner card to receive, decode and cache web-related content without the bottleneck of the Internet or tying up a telephone line. The free, advertising supported WaveTop service provides a wide range of multi-media programming, including news, investment advice and information, children's programming, weather, consumer reports, software downloads and much more, all supplied by the Web's leading content providers.

Distributed nationally via the unused portion of television signals from 264 PBS member stations around the country, WaveTop currently reaches the top 100 U.S. markets, representing over 85 percent of all U.S. households. It will reach more than 99 percent of U. S. households by year-end."

That kind of talk would get many a venture capitalist or corporate partner extremely interested in the converging world of TV-PC-toaster. For all that, WAVO market cap sits at a near-52-week low of $129 million. For the six months ending June 30, WAVO revenues were up 33% to $12.2 million with net losses of $10.7 million. Annualized that's a 5x revenue multiple for the kind of technology that Microsoft or another may want bragging rights to someday.

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