July 21, 1999 12:24 PM PDT

MP3.com shoots up 126 percent in IPO

MP3.com Inc. (Nasdaq: MPPP) closed up 35 5/16, or 126 percent, to 63 5/16 Wednesday in its initial public offering. The stock surged as high as 105 after pricing at $28 a share late Tuesday.

Showing strong demand for the stock, MP3's initial range of $9-$11 was raised first to $16-$18 and then to $24-$26. The company is offering 12.3 million shares.

The IPO, underwritten by CS First Boston, Hambrecht & Quist and BancBoston Robertson Stephens, is expected to cash in on the company's trendy name and positioning in the music industry. MP3 is at odds with the music industry, which makes it an outsider and much cooler.

The MP3 offering follows successful IPOs from online music companies Liquid Audio (Nasdaq: LQID) and Musicmaker.com (Nasdaq: HITS).

"In the music industry being cool or hip can go a lot way," said Tom Taulli, an IPO analyst for Edgar Online. "This company has a lot of momentum."

Of the 12.3 million shares, MP3 is offering about 3.3 million to Arkaro S.A., a subsidiary of Groupe Arnault, a French company. In July Groupe Arnault agreed to buy $150 million of advertising, promotion and marketing services from MP3 over the next three years, the filing said.

MP3 also counts Cox Communications, which will own 9.4 percent of the company, as a big investor. MP3 has more than 100,000 songs from over 18,000 artists and allows consumers to search, sample and download music free.

About 89 percent of MP3's revenue comes from advertising, but the company also gets sales from CD sales and sponsors of CD samplers that feature collections of music from artists that post music on the MP3 site.

From March 1998 to December 1998, the life of the company, revenue was $1.16 million. Losses for 1998 were $357,500. For the first quarter, MP3 reported sales of $665,785 and a loss of $1.4 million.

MP3's employees increased from eight on December 31, 1998, to 142 on June 30. In June, MP3 added over 125 artists and 660 new songs on average each day. MP3 also served 57 million pageviews in June with users downloading 10 million songs and conducting over 5.5 million music searches.

Although MP3 was the most successful IPO of the day, there were other impressive debuts.

  • Insight Communications (Nasdaq: ICCI), the 8th largest cable television system operator, gained 5 15/6, or 25 percent, to 29 15/16 Wednesday after pricing its 23 million shares at $23.50. The price range was $21 to $23.

  • Hoover's Inc. (Nasdaq: HOOV), a corporate profile provider, closed up 8, or 57 percent, to 22 after pricing its 3.25 million-share offering at $14, the top of its price range.

  • Voyager.net Inc. (Nasdaq: VOYN), an ISP in the Midwest, gained only 1/6 to 15 1/16 in its debut.

  • Art Technology Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARTG), which offers Internet customer relationship management and electronic commerce software, rose 6 1/16, or 51 percent, to 18 1/16.

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