Merger Rumors, IPOs Grab Headlines

Takeover speculation dominated the news in the Internet sector on Wednesday, although most of the day’s initial public offerings also rocketed.’s Internet Stock Index rose 9.43, or 1.87 percent, to 514.65, the Nasdaq Composite gained 17.87 to 2,598.13 and the Dow Jones industrial average shed 55.09 to 10,666.54.

EarthLink Network Inc. (ELNK) gained 4 to 61-1/4 amid continuing reports that Gateway Inc. is considering buying the Internet service provider. Both companies have refused to comment on the speculation, which caused EarthLink shares to climb 20 percent Tuesday.

Online software store Corp. (BYND) soared 7-1/4 to 32-7/8. Rumors emerged Wednesday that (AMZN) may buy the company. Amazon gained 1/4 to 117-3/4.

CMGI Inc. (CMGI) gained 4 to 98-15/16. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday the company may buy Compaq Computer Corp.’s Internet assets for $2 billion to $3 billion. Those include the AltaVista search engine as well as e-commerce site and local directory Zip2.

Shares of AboveNet (ABOV) gained 4-1/16 to 40-13/16. The company Wednesday was purchased by Metromedia Fiber Networks in a $2 billion stock deal. (MLTX), which provides research reports to individual investors, lost 2-5/16 to 26-11/16 on news that was acquiring Market Guide Inc. (MARG) in a stock deal worth $162.4 million. Market Guide shareholders will receive one share of stock for each outstanding share of
Market Guide stock, or approximately 5.6 million shares. Market Guide shares lost 1-3/8 to 21-5/8.

It was also a busy day for initial public offerings. TD Waterhouse Group Inc. (TWE) rose 1-5/8 to 25-5/8. The online broker, a unit of Canada’s Toronto-Dominion Bank, sold 42 million shares at $24, raising slightly more than $1 billion. That’s the largest Internet IPO ever.

Shares of electronic commerce software provider Ariba Inc. (ARBA) rocketed 67 to 90 on their debut. The company sold 5 million shares at $23, raising $115 million.

Globespan Inc. (GSPN) also had a stellar introduction, rising 27-5/16 to 42-5/16. The company, which supplies chipsets for Digital Subscriber Line equipment, sold 3.25 million shares at $15 Tuesday, raising $48.75 million.

Netivation Inc. (NTVN) slumped 15/32 to 9-17/32. The Internet community builder sold 2.5 million shares at $10 each, raising $25 million.

Internet America Inc. (GEEK) jumped 1-7/8 to 19 after receiving a “buy” rating from Scott & Stringfellow.

Other strong gainers included Juno Online Services (JWEB) up 1-3/4 to 18-1/16.

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