Net name registrar's stock soars

Register.com, which is challenging Network Solutions in its once-exclusive preserve of registering domain names, more than doubles as trading begins for the first time.

NEW YORK--Register.com, which is challenging Network Solutions in its once-exclusive preserve of registering domain names, more than doubled as trading began for the first time.

The New York-based company rose $33.25 to $57.25 by the 1 p.m. PST close of regular trading today, giving it a market value of $1.8 billion. About 7.6 million shares were exchanged. Register.com sold 5 million shares, a 16 percent stake, at $24 each yesterday, raising $120 million.

Register.com is one of several companies competing with Herndon, Va.-based Network Solutions, which until June had a government monopoly to register Internet addresses that end in ".com," ".net" and ".org." Register.com has registered about 308,000 domain names for the three months ended Dec. 31. and plans to offer Web hosting, email, domain management, and other products and services.

Register.com lost $8.8 million last year on sales of $9.6 million, compared with a loss of $1.2 million on sales of $1.3 million in 1998.

Richard D. Forman, 35, is the company's chairman and chief executive. Forman previously was president of Lease On Line, a real estate brokerage and management firm. He owns an 18 percent stake in the company following the initial sale.

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