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Business e-commerce firm gets cold shoulder in IPO

Shares of Clickservice Software remain flat in first-day trading, despite a market for initial public offerings that appears to be improving.

Shares of business-to-business company Clickservice Software remained flat in first-day trading, despite a market for initial public offerings that appears to be improving.

In early trading, Clickservice shares reached $7.19 after the company sold 4 million shares this morning at $7 each, raising $28 million. The shares trade under the ticker "CKSW."

Warning signs preceded Clickservice's lackluster first-day performance. The company initially hoped to raise as much as $60 million by selling 5 million shares for up to $12, the upper end of the range initially set by underwriters Lehman Brothers.

"That's a sign that there was lack of demand for the stock," said Jeff Hirschkorn, senior market analyst with IPO.com. "It's a business-to-business company, and B2B is not really in demand today. B2B is all played out."

Clickservice's IPO debuted in a market that appears to be recovering from a spring sell-off. Two days ago, the Nasdaq composite index passed 4,000 for the first time in more than two months, and an increasing number of companies have been scheduling IPOs. Twelve companies are scheduled to begin public trading this week, compared with an average of five per week in May and June, according to market research firm CommScan.

In addition, some companies that have recently gone public have posted modest gains. Shares of Handspring jumped 35 percent in its initial public offering yesterday, ranking among the 10 best first-day gainers since May 1, according to Richard Peterson, an analyst with Thomson Financial Securities Data.

"I think if you can characterize it, the general atmosphere of the IPO market right now is modest expectations," Peterson said.

Clickservice, founded in Tel Aviv in 1979, sells two products, ClickSchedule and ClickFix. ClickSchedule is an Internet-based scheduler that can be customized and accessed by multiple people. ClickFix operates as an automated troubleshooting solution that identifies a problem with equipment and automatically notifies a designated person within a company.

Hirschkorn said ClickService's product line seems slim for a 20-year-old company. "It's been around since '79, and it should've been able to get a little bit more advanced in its technology."

The company lost $3.3 million in the first quarter of 2000 on revenues of $3.5 million. Last year, Clickservice lost $8 million on revenues of $10.3 million.