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IPO Update: Internet Initiative Japan shows promise

Internet Initiative Japan (Nasdaq: IIJI) shares closed up 8 5/16, or 36 percent, to 31 5/16 Wednesday after its initial public offering hit the Street at $23 a share.

The company, one of Japan's first and largest Internet access providers, priced shares well above the original $18-20 range.

Internet Initiative follows other international offerings, such as China.com Corp. (Nasdaq: CHINA) and Freeserve Plc (Nasdaq: FREE ) which were snapped up by U.S. investors as an opportunity to get in earlier on the Internet revolution overseas.

Although all four of Tuesday's Internet-related debuts broke below their offering prices amid stock market volatility, analysts had predicted Internet Initiative of Japan should be well-received.

"You have to put this in context. It's a foreign issue so right there you have a different audience than just normal Internet issues,'' said Randall Roth, an analyst at Renaissance Capital Corp.'s IPO Plus Aftermarket Fund (Nasdaq:IPOSX). "Japan is coming back and that's obviously good news for a company like this. I think (it) is going to attract not just people who like to play Internet stocks but also foreign fund managers.''

Internet Initiative of Japan's shareholders include Japanese heavyweights such as Sumitomo Bank and Dai-ichi Life. Lead underwriter for the initial public offering is Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley is a co-manager.

PSINet (Nasdaq: PSIX) and Pacific Internet (Nasdaq: PCNTF) are named as similar companies. The Tokyo-based company of 266 employees was founded in 1992.

  • Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. (Nasdaq: FCS) didn't fair as well, gaining only 1/4 to 18 3/4 in its debut.

    Reuters contributed to this report.