In Nasdaq We Trust

The key to a resurgent IPO market will be a resurgent Nasdaq. Last week,
there were signs that, yes, Nasdaq may be coming back to life. After all,
the index was up for three consecutive days (the first time in four months).
This was the case despite some tough earnings reports, such as from Yahoo!
and Hewlett-Packard. This type of bad news – say a month ago – would have
tanked the market.

And wasn’t online advertising supposed to be dead? Maybe not. DoubleClick
surged $3.50 to $14.75 when it reported its earnings last week.

True, this is anecdotal evidence of a bottom. But it is very hopeful
nonetheless.

Interestingly enough, there is even a dot-com company planning to go public.
It is Sportingbet.com, which will
be listed on the London Alternative Investment Market. The company expects
to raise $64 million. For the first six months of 2000, the company had
sales of 114.1 million and losses of 4 million (in pounds, of course).

Back in the U.S., though, there is still clean-up in the IPO market. The
AltaVista search
engine decided to nix its offering last week. CMGI holds 81.6 percent
ownership in the company and Compaq owns 18.2 percent.

Another withdrawal came from Haht
Commerce
. The company is a provider of e-business software solutions.

In fact, during the fourth quarter of 2000, there were 93 companies that
decided to withdraw their IPOs. Yet, there were companies that were still
filing to go public during this period – 65 in all.

Basically, the IPO market is becoming more discerning. But it is not the
end. No doubt, expect lots of excitement from IPOs in 2001.

For example, keep an eye on NTT DoCoMo. The company is the developer of the
widely popular “I-mode” Net mobile phone. It is the craze in Japan and is
making huge sums of money.

The lead underwriters include Goldman Sachs and Nikko Salomon Smith Barney.
DoCoMo will announce the pricing information for the offering between
February 1st to the 6th.

The company does not lack ambition – and is definitely not afraid of IPO
investors. DoCoMo plans to raise a whopping $6.8 billion. But the company
will need the cash. It has spent $16.1 billion to buy stakes in foreign
mobile phone companies during the past year. The goal is to develop
third-generation mobile products.

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