Lycos Europe raises $649 million in IPO

The joint venture between Web portal Lycos and German media company Bertelsmann is valued at more than $5 billion after its first day of trading.

Lycos Europe, a joint venture between Web portal Lycos and German media company Bertelsmann, today said it raised $649 million in its initial public offering.

As of yesterday's market close, Lycos Europe is valued at more than $5 billion after its first day of trading on the Neuer Markt, Germany's tech-heavy stock exchange, the company said in a statement.

Lycos, which announced plans to take the European Internet venture public last December, priced its per-share range last week at 19 euros to 24 euros ($18 to $23). Yesterday, shares of the company closed at 22.75 euros ($22) after opening at 23.80 euros ($23).

In recent months, the Waltham, Mass.-based Web portal has been aggressively stepping up its expansion efforts, aiming to tackle rival Yahoo, which has done fairly well overseas. Several U.S.-based Internet portals, including America Online, have been scrambling to form joint ventures in areas such as Europe, Asia and Latin America to build local business relationships for e-commerce, advertising and content.

Lycos, which has established operations in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Canada and Latin America, said it intends to continue to focus on providing and developing its business while partnering with local companies to create content and culture-specific services.

Earlier this month, the company's Asia unit, a joint venture with Singapore Telecom, launched Lycos Malaysia. The Web site features local news and content, home page building, and free email services presented in the Malay language. Lycos said it plans to launch additional sites throughout the Asia-Pacific region in coming months.

Despite posting a wider loss last quarter, parent company Lycos reported strong revenue growth and topped analysts' estimates. Revenue more than doubled to $68.6 million from $31.1 million in its year-ago period.

The Lycos Europe IPO was open to institutional investors in Europe and retail investors in Germany, the company said. Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs managed the offering.

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