Mindspring Ends Day On High Note

Internet provider Mindspring Enterprises Inc. was the day’s big success story as investors drove up the stock over merger speculation. The flood of Internet initial public offerings continued Thursday as three new issues debuted.

Despite a few high flyers Thursday was a down day as rising bond yields drove players from equities, accelerating sales of Internet plays late in the session.

internet.com’s Internet Stock Index ended the session off 14.47, or 2.81 percent, to 500.18, the Nasdaq Composite tumbled 44.05 to 2,554.07 and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 132.03 to 10,534.83.

MindSpring Enterprises Inc. (MSPG) jumped 3-1/2 to 82-1/8. The company issued a brief statement Thursday confirming it is discussions with unidentified parties over “possible business combinations and other alternatives.” MindSpring officials said no other comments would be issued until a deal is reached.

Confirmation of talks comes on the heels of Gateway Inc.’s rumored interest in acquiring EarthLink Network Inc. (ELNK). EarthLink gained 1/4 to 61-1/2 and Juno Online Services (JWEB) shot up 4-1/2 to 22-3/16. On Wednesday, Paine Webber initiated coverage of the stock with a “buy.”

CMGI Inc. (CMGI) ended off 2-7/16 to 96-1/2. CMGI confirmed Thursday it had begun preliminary discussions with Compaq Computer Corp. about acquiring its AltaVista search engine.

Lycos Inc. (LCOS) climbed 1-15/16 to 95-7/16. The search engine said it is considering taking its European unit, a joint venture with Bertelsmann AG, public. CMGI is also rumored to again be interested in taking over Lycos.

CheckFree Holdings Corp. (CKFR) lost 5/8 to 29-1/8 after trading as high as 34-1/2 earlier in the session. CheckFree’s decided to shelf a secondary offering of 3.8 million shares.

CheckFree tumbled Wednesday after three leading banks formed a venture to deliver bills over the Internet.

On the IPO front, electronic commerce software provider Ariba Inc. (ARBA) was giving back some of Wednesday’s gains. On its second day of trading, Ariba tumbled 12-1/8 to 77-7/8.

Software.com (SWCM) had a good debut, ending up 3-1/16 to 18-1/16. The company sold 6 million shares at $15, raising $90 million.

Also debuting was quepasa.com inc. (PASA), shooting up 5-1/8 to end at 17-1/8. The site, which caters to Spanish speaking users, offers a search engine, free e-mail and chat rooms. quepasa.com sold 4 million shares at $12 each, raising $48 million.

The last new entrant, CyberSource Corp. (CYBS) ended its first day up 2-9/16 to 13-9/16. The e-commerce transaction processor sold 4 million shares at $11, raising $44 million.

Elsewhere in the sector, there was lots of red ink, with America Online Inc. (AOL) losing 4-3/4 to 107, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) off 4-1/8 to 113-5/8, [email protected] (ATHM) lost 3-7/16 to 53, Broadcast.com Inc. (BCST) lost 4-3/16 to 115-5/16, eBay Inc. (EBAY) shedding 4-5/16 to 142-1/8 and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) falling 4-5/8 to 150-7/8.

Online software retailer Beyond.com Corp. (BYND) tumbled 5-1/16 to 27-13/16. Shares had staged a run-up earlier in the week over speculation that Amazon.com may buy the company.

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