Bookseller Leads Barrage of Internet IPOs

If the calendars are even close to on target, as many as 10 Internet
IPOs could begin trading this week.

The offerings includes one bona fide marquee IPO and three from
companies that provide investment-related news, research and services to
the online trading community.

This week’s “name” Internet IPO, of course, is barnesandnoble.com, the
online spinoff of books retailer Barnes & Noble and German media
conglomerate Bertelsmann AG. Trading under the Nasdaq symbol BNBN,
barnesandnoble.com plans to offer 25 million (yes, it says “25”) shares
in the $16 to $18 price range in hopes of raising $425 million. Expect
the actual offer price to be at least $20.

(Check out a recent Morning
Report
in which Steve Harmon analyzes this IPO.)

It is the second try at an IPO for barnesandnoble.com, which filed the
first time last September, only to postpone the offering a couple of
weeks later after Bertelsmann paid Barnes & Noble $200 million for a 50%
stake in the online venture.

Ironically, the day barnesandnoble.com announced its first IPO filing,
incoming Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Middelhoff reportedly said the German
company would likely get into the online bookselling business by itself.

In November, the corporate partners named a new CEO for
barnesandnoble.com — Jonathan Bulkeley, former managing director of
Bertelsmann’s joint European venture with AOL.

Underwriters for the online bookseller’s IPO are Goldman Sachs, Merrill
Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney and Wit Capital.

Comprising the three investment-related IPOs are two online brokers and
the most comprehensive online source for real-time information about
Securities and Exchange Commission filings. They are:

  • onlinetradinginc.com, an Internet broker that targets wealthy
    investors and small- to medium-sized institutional investors. This IPO
    was discussed in a recent StockTracker
    column.

  • DLJdirect, a tracking stock for Wall Street investment bank Donaldson,
    Lufkin & Jenrette. Begun a decade ago as PC Financial Network, DLJdirect
    provides investors with trading services, market research, securities
    trading primers and personalized portfolios. It also is the only place
    online where investors can get in on DLJ-underwritten IPOs (of which,
    obviously, this is one).

    Through aggressive Web marketing and its built-in brand name, DLJdirect
    is on the short list of most popular online brokerages, along with
    E*TRADE, Ameritrade and Charles Schwab, the biggest online broker.

    DLJdirect had $118 million in revenues last year (up from $67 million in
    1997) and – here’s something you don’t see every day in the Internet
    universe – a profit of $1.5 million.

    The company is offering 16 million shares in the $18 to $20 price range.
    It will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DIR.

  • EDGAR Online, which has set an offer range of $8.50 to $9.50 per share
    for 3 million shares. Proposed NASDAQ ticker is EDGR; lead underwriter
    is C.E. Unterberg, Towbin.

This site offers Web users full SEC filings covering a range of
corporate activities, including IPO registrations, secondary stock sale
registrations, annual reports and proxy statements. Given that the
wealth of information is free, it’s no surprise that EDGAR Online is a
first-stop for investors seeking financial information on companies both
public and planning to go public.

Edgar’s revenue doubled to $2 million last year from $1 million in ’97,
while net losses increased in that same time from to $2.2 million from$1.5 million.

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