In show business they call it the “walk-out” act. It’s the performer
thrown up on stage to entertain stragglers in the crowd after the
headliner blows away the house with a dazzling star turn.
Through no fault of their own, that’s the role @plan and fashionmall.com
are in Friday in the wake of eToys’ monster debut. The online retailer
of toys and games closed Thursday at $76.56 after pricing at $20 per
share. The resulting 283% opening-day gain is the fourth-best of 1999,
topped only by CBS MarketWatch.com, priceline.com and Healtheon. That’s
pretty fast company.
With the IPO audience still buzzing about eToys, @plan and
fashionmall.com each have priced shares and may begin trading Friday.
@plan is one of many companies promising to give its clients detailed,
accurate demographic profiles of about 40,000 Web users. The Stamford,
Conn.-based company sells its services to e-tailers, Internet
advertisers and ad agencies.
While @plan’s name isn’t well known, the company that actually does the
data collection on its behalf is – The Gallup Organization. That
association could be critical, for @plan faces intense competition from
a number of competitors with higher Web profiles, such as Media Metrix,
Nielsen Media Research/NetRatings and DoubleClick, as well as I/PRO,
24/7 Media and NetGravity.
Revenue for @plan grew from about $400,000 in 1997 to $3.1 million last
year — a 637% increase — while losses in those same periods fell from
$2.8 million to $1.9 million. Investors should like both trends.
Hambrecht & Quist is lead underwriter for the offering of 2.5 million
shares at $14. @plan will trade on Nasdaq under the symbol APLN.
The other Internet IPO that should begin trading Friday,
fashionmall.com, was profiled in a March
Report, so I’ll avoid a rehashing of those details.
It’s worth noting, however, that since that column ran, fashionmall.com
has reported Q1 earnings of $770,000, an 84% increase over the Q1 ’98
figures. Net loss for the quarter was $39,000, less than half of the
$86,000 reported in 1998’s first quarter.
The company is offering 3 million shares at $13 each. Lead underwriteris Gruntal & Co.; Nasdaq symbol will be FASH.
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