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Tech Industry

IPOs DOA through holidays

With the Nasdaq still down 22 percent since Sept. 1, the IPO market is slim--and experts say it could stay that way through the holidays.

With the Nasdaq still down 22 percent since Sept. 1, the IPO market is slim--and experts say it could stay that way through the holidays.

Unless the market recovers and the quality of the deals picks up, analysts said, the calendar of offerings could remain sparse. Few deals should be expected on Thanksgiving weekend, as well as around Christmas and New Years.

"I think it should be very quiet going into the end of the year; the environment is just not very friendly for it right now," said Vincent Slavin, who tracks IPOs for Cantor Fitzgerald. "It has to do with the quality of the deals that are in the pipe right now."

Just four technology companies have joined a lineup of seven IPOs scheduled for next week's calendar, according to Renaissance Capital. This week, only three new issues began trading.

One technology company on tap for next week is Metavante, an application service provider whose software enables banks and other financial institutions to initiate electronic transactions. The company plans to raise as much as $198 million through the sale of 16.5 million shares at a range of $10 to $12.

Metavante began as the data services division of Milwaukee, Wis.-based Marshall & Ilsley, which will own 84.1 percent of the company after the offering. Metavante was founded in 1964 to provide outsourcing account processing to local and regional banks. It completed the world's first Internet banking transaction in October 1995, according to its Securities and Exchange filing.

According to the Tune in to CNET News.com TV's IPO
Forecast Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 45 percent of all national banks will offer Internet banking services by the beginning of 2001. As of June 30, it had more than 3,300 clients, according to the prospectus.

"Traditional financial institutions are faced with new competitors targeting their most profitable customers. In order to remain competitive, these providers must integrate new capabilities and technologies, such as Internet banking, securities brokerage and insurance, into their product and service offerings," the company stated in its prospectus.

Metavante is a profitable company, having earned $19.9 million on revenue of $286 million for the first six months of the year. According to the prospectus, the company has earned money every year since 1995, the last year that its finances are listed.

Metavante has applied to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "MVNT." Credit Suisse First Boston is handling the sale.

Below is a partial list of other companies that are scheduled to begin trading next week:

Optical Communication, which makes "opto-electronic subsystems" for metro area networks, is expected to raise as much as $126 million through the sale of 10.5 million shares at a range of $10 to $12.

The company is similar to Stratos Lightwave and Finisar, both of which performed well in their IPOs. In its November IPO, Finisar more than quadrupled on its first day of trading. In June, Stratos Lightwave gained 62 percent.

Chatsworth, Calif.-based Optical Communication has applied to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "OCPI." UBS Warburg will handle the sale.

TriNet Group, which provides Web-based outsourcing of employer and human resources services, plans to raise as much as $54.6 million through the sale of 3.9 million shares at a range of $12 to $14. The company has applied to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "TRNE." Robert Baird will handle the sale.