IPOs Manage to Escape Nasdaq Plunge

There is an old Latin proverb that says fortune is like glass: she breaks when she is brightest. The shining Nasdaq surely broke!

On Monday, the Nasdaq dropped 258 points. On Wednesday, it sank another 286. Then on Friday, it sank another 355 points. One could say that many fortunes broke like glass.

Yet the neurotic Nasdaq looked brightly on some of the week’s IPO.

Bookham Technology (BKHM) did well on Tuesday when its 19.3 million shares
went to 47-7/8 after being priced at $15.83. However, it took its lumps
like the rest of the market and was down to 28 by Friday.

Bookham Technology designs optical components based on silicon chips for
products such as optical transceivers, receivers, and multiplexers in
telecommunications networks. Their major customers include E-Tek Dynamics,
Nortel, and Scientific-Atlanta.

The lead underwriter was Goldman Sachs.

Nuance (NUAN) disregarded the market momentum and priced its shares at $17,
which was above the $14 to $16 range. They guessed right and saw them nearly
doubled to 33-15/16 on Thursday. It actually edged up to 34-1/4 on Friday.

Nuance Communications’ voice-recognition software comes in a dozen languages
and dialects, including U.K. English, Latin American Spanish, German,
Japanese, and Cantonese. Some of the over 150 businesses worldwide using
their software includes Bell Atlantic, Charles Schwab, Cheap Tickets,
Dell Japan, General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Motorola, and Sears.

Goldman, Sachs was the lead underwriter.

One tech IPO the market did not care about was Asiacontent.com (maybe the
company should have dropped the .com from the name). On Wednesday, they
opened at 14 and dropped to 11. They moved up to 12-7/8 on Thursday, but
fell to 9 on Friday.

Asiacontent has content, advertising and e-commerce on 14 sites in 5
languages, focusing on Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea. They are
looking to offer broadband services, including streaming audio and video in
the near future.

The lead underwriter was Goldman, Sachs.

Another brave tech company to launch an IPO was Sina (SINA). This
Chinese-focused internet company priced its shares at $17, but only saw a
modest rise to 20-11/16 by the end of Thursday. It dropped to 19-1/2 on

SINA has four Chinese-language portal networks targeting China, Taiwan, Hong
Kong, and North America. SINA provides such services as news, finance,
sports, email, and on-line shopping.

The global lead underwriters were Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and China
International Capital Corp.

Two other tech companies scheduled for the week had second thoughts.

ZEFER (ZEFR), which provides Internet consulting and implementation
postponed its IPO. ISKY (ISKY), a company that provides real-time text chat,
e-mail, facsimile, and voice over the Internet, withdrew its IPO on Friday.
Unfortunately, expect many more delays and withdrawals.

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