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Marketwatch.com Plans IPO

Online financial publisher Marketwatch.Com Inc. hopes to raise $34.5 million in an initial public offering.

The company on Tuesday filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission to float an IPO, although the company did not disclose how many shares it would offer or what their initial price would be. Marketwatch produces the CBS Marketwatch Web site.

Marketwatch said it will use $5 million of the offering for advertising and marketing efforts over 1998-99 and will also repay all debts owed to Data Broadcasting Corp. DBC and CBS Inc. formed the company in 1997 and are two of its largest stockholders. The remaining money is to be used for general operating expenses.

BT Alex. Brown and Salomon Smith Barney will be the lead underwriters for the offering.

Like many Internet companies, Marketwatch is still in the red. In fiscal 1997, the company reported losses of $943,000 on revenues of just under $1.2 million.

Marketwatch said its traffic grew to 2 million visitors and more than 45 million page views during September compared to 785,000 visitors and 38 million page views in March.

Despite its growing traffic, the company warned that several obstacles lie ahead. The company said its revenues have yet to grow to significant levels and cautioned that revenue prospects in the future are still uncertain. Costs associated with building brand awareness and content continue to grow and the company said that will cause operating losses to keep mounting for the foreseeable future.