September 23, 1999 1:20 PM PDT

Net firms pump up in public offerings

Two long-awaited e-commerce public offerings, Cybergold and Ashford.com, priced yesterday, and both began trading higher in their first day on the public market.

After pricing at the top of its range at $9 for 5 million shares, Cybergold gained almost 48 percent, or 4.13, to reach 13.13 in afternoon trading. Ashford.com rose as much as 50 percent at its day's high of 19.5.

Ashford.com priced at $13 per share for 6.25 million shares, according to regulatory filings. In August, however, Cybergold had decreased its range from $9 to $11 per share to $7 to $9 per share, and increased the shares offered from 4 million to 5 million.

Cybergold is an online direct-marketing company. In one program, the so-called Earn & Spend Community, consumers are compensated with cash incentives for responding to online marketing offers. The cash earned can be credited to a user's VISA or bank accounts--or used to purchase products including software, music, or games, according to regulatory filings.

Cybergold lost $3.95 million on $1.29 million in revenue in the six months ended June 30 of this year. The company lost $4.77 million on $1.01 million in revenue last year. According to the company's regulatory filing, it has an accumulated deficit of $16.9 million.

Cybergold said it faces competition from companies such as MyPoints.com and Netcentives, and may later face competition from Internet portals and community Web sites as well. The management team includes Nat Goldhaber as chief executive, and directors include advertising veterans Jay Chiat and Regis McKenna.

Underwriters are G Cowen Securities, CIBC World Markets, Volpe Brown Whelan, and E*Offering.

Ashford.com is a Web-based retailer of luxury products, including watches and writing instruments. It also may sell other goods in the future, such as leather products, sunglasses, and jewelry.

Ashford.com lost $3.18 million on $3.62 in revenue during the three months that ended June 30. Since the company's inception in March of last year, it has lost $4.44 million on $9.56 million in revenue.

Underwriters include Goldman Sachs, BancBoston Robertson Stephens, Deutsche Banc Alex Brown, and E*Offering.

"The online commerce market is new, rapidly evolving and intensely competitive," Ashford.com said in its regulatory filing. "We expect to face stiff competition in every product category that we enter."

 

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