In one of the now infamous press releases cranked out earlier this year,
Zapata’s goal was to be ‘the roach motel of the Internet, users come in but
don’t get out.’
And therein lies the heart of Zapata’s thorough ignorance of the Internet.
Roach motels? These are death traps for bugs. Yesterday it was Zapata
itself who found the words prophetic.
Its grandiose play to create one of the Internet’s “biggest players”
fizzled as Zap.com was zapped, a victim of its own hype.
The fish-oil and investment concern Zapata Corp. (NASDAQ:ZAP) pulled the
plug on its wired world domination plans even before the juice started
flowing, citing “market conditions,” referring to Wall Street’s lack of
enthusiasm for new issues of late.
The zap didn’t surprise us one bit. This is the firm that faxed over a $1.7
“bid” for Excite in May, “offered” WhoWhere a rumored $400 million, and,
having been rejected smartly by more experienced Internet players, promptly
went about acquiring about 20 mostly unknown Web sites that offered stock
quotes, shareware, chat, to build into a “portal” (since that was the
popular lingo circa May-June) that would “compete” with Yahoo. Uh huh.
We first visited the notion (or fantasy) back in July when the flakes were
Stock Report, July 31.
That was when ZAP shares went ballistic on Zapata Corp.’s high-profile
“shock jock-like” media blitz about how it planned to create on of the top
two Web destinations. ZAP jumped more than 100% to $21.50 per share in
early July in a single day as its zeal infected the Internet industry with
a mix of comic relief and question marks.
October 15, reality check saw it at $6.875 per share, lower than when the
“let’s be an Internet giant” saga began in July.
Can we blame the IPO market? Aside from the fact that Zapata management’s
approach to the Internet was fax and press release heavy, in our opinion,
we think that they simply never had a clue as to how the Web works.
What the IPO market drew out was how short-sighted Zapata’s “vision” (the
word seems too strong to use for such a firm) was. It was based on a frenzy
for Internet stocks and seemed to be following the flavor of the week. If
bio tech resurges, will it announce that it’s forming a bio tech concern
As for the Internet stock IPO market it’s far from dead. Winners and losers
populate Internet.com’s IPO Index which tracks this year’s offers, 8 of the
14 stocks traded above the initial public offer price, a slightly-bullish
sign in our view.
|(c) 1998 Mecklermedia,|
Internet Stock Report
Inktomi (NASDAQ:INKT) led all-comers with a 368% rocket ship rise to $84.19
per share October 15, from its IPO pricing June 10 as its network caching
and Web search softwares gained big-name buyers including Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT), AOL (NYSE:AOL) and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO).
Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) came in second, with a 192% rise to $70 per share as
it holds a monopoly on cable set-top chips for broadband.
The most recent IPO, ebay (NASDAQ:EBAY), showed an 81% climb from IPO
September 24. For the past two weeks, however, EBAY shares have been bid
down on Yahoo ramping up a similar service powered by auctioneer Onsale