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More Internet Mania

July 23, 1998|Bloomberg News

It was probably inevitable: Another soon-to-be-public Internet services company wants the ticker symbol that heretofore has gone unused: GEEK.

Internet America Inc., a Dallas-based Net services firm that markets itself through a 1-800-BE-A-GEEK phone number, has filed for an initial stock offering that could raise up to $29 million.

The company has applied to trade on Nasdaq under the symbol GEEK.

Internet America, led by 42-year-old Chief Executive Michael T. Maples, sells Internet access and related services to 50,000 customers, primarily in North Texas. By using billboards and television ads to target customers in areas with many Internet users, the company has achieved profit margins "that are substantially higher than those of publicly traded Internet service providers," according to the company's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company wants to sell 2.3 million shares at $9 to $11 each. That would give Internet America a market value of about $63 million after the offering, based on a share price of $10 for the company's 6.3 million shares outstanding.

Proceeds from the stock offering will be used to build Internet America's brand name and for acquiring companies in new and current markets. Its business strategy is to "rapidly build profitable market share" rather than create a big network infrastructure, according to the filing.

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