Mail.com surges on ISP deals

Shares of Mail.com Inc. (Nasdaq: MAIL) picked up 5 15/16, or 46 percent, to 18 7/8 Wednesday after the company announced that 14 regional Internet service providers will add its free e-mail service at no extra charge for their customers.

Mail.com, which already has similar deals with EarthLink Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: ELNK), Prodigy Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: PRGY) and GTE Corp. (NYSE: GTE), didn't make much of an impact in its June 18 initial public offering.

The 6.85 million-share offering priced at $7 a share, the middle of its revised range, and closed up only 1 3/4 to 8 3/4.

The 14 ISPs, which are scattered throughout nine states from Florida to Michigan, will now be able to offer their clients free e-mail access much like Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Hotmail property.

"We are thrilled to add these 14 regional ISPs to our growing list of ISP partners who are looking to establish a significant competitive advantage," said COO Lon Otremba in a prepared release.

Mail.com shares fell to a low of 7 3/4 shortly after the initial public offering. Prior to Wednesday's rally, the stock had peaked at 14 1/2.>

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