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i3 Mobile shares gain in trading debut

Wireless Web content delivery firm i3 Mobile sees its shares spike 56 percent in an initial public stock offering.

    Wireless Web content delivery firm i3 Mobile saw its shares spike 56 percent in an initial public stock offering today.

    Stock in i3 Mobile rose $9 to close at $25, making the company the second-largest percentage gainer on the Nasdaq stock market as more than 8.6 million shares changed hands. The company's market value stands at $537 million.

    i3 Mobile's IPO comes on the heels of a solid offering yesterday by Vyyo, a fixed wireless equipment manufacturer, and serves to highlight the continued optimism about wireless Internet companies.

    Hundreds of millions of mobile phone handsets--most of them now Internet-ready--are sold annually, making wireless applications and Web content a hot niche. Wireless technology companies such as Qualcomm and Phone.com have produced enviable stock market results over the past year.

    i3 Mobile, formerly Intelligent Information Inc., delivers time-sensitive personalized content such as stock quotes, sports scores, weather information and horoscopes to wireless phones and other mobile handheld devices. i3 also enables subscribers to send and receive email and make wireless e-commerce transactions.

    The company offered 5.1 million shares at $16 a piece. Corporate investors include MCI WorldCom, Sony, Sony Music, NBC Interactive and GE, among others.

    Investment bank Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown served as lead underwriter for the IPO while Chase H&Q and Credit Suisse First Boston co-managed the offering.