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MARKET SAVVY | SAVVY CONFIDENTIAL: A Briefing for Investors

Barnesandnoble.com Defies IPO Jitters

May 25, 1999|Bloomberg News

Despite rockiness in the Internet IPO market, Barnesandnoble.com Inc., the online bookseller owned by Barnes & Noble Inc. and Bertelsmann, raised $450 million in an initial stock sale Monday that tapped into investors' hope that the firm will challenge Amazon.com Inc.

And Pasadena-based GoTo.com Inc., the Web search service that auctions off the top hits to advertisers, said it expects to sell 5 million common shares for $11 to $13 apiece in its initial public offering.

New York-based Barnesandnoble.com, whose ticker symbol will be BNBN when trading starts today, sold 25 million shares at $18 each. That was at the top of the $16-$18 range set by Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co., which handled the transaction. The sale represented an 18% stake and gave the company a market value of $2.5 billion.

Some investors expect Barnesandnoble.com to be a strong competitor to Amazon.com Inc., the No. 1 Internet retailer, said Ben Holmes, president of IpoPros.com, a Boulder, Colo., research firm. "A lot of people are looking at this as a potential slugfest," he said.

GoTo.com, a product of the Idealab incubator, estimated that its stock sale, tentatively slated for June, will raise about $54.7 million after expenses.

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