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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

IPO busts: 1-800-Flowers.com, Quotesmith.com flop

Three initial public offerings were "broken" in their debuts Tuesday as investors resisted the temptation to jump on another round of new Internet stocks.

1-800-Flowers.com (Nasdaq: FLWS) closed off 2 13/16 to 18 3/16 after pricing its offering at $21 a share late Monday. The stock momentarily shot up to a high of 22 1/4 before losing ground.

The company had originally planned to sell 6 million shares at between $16 to $18 a share.

Its lackluster performance must be a bitter disappointment for lead underwriter Goldman Sachs.

Competitor FTD.com Inc. (Proposed ticker: EFTC) is supposed to price Wednesday night for an IPO on Thursday. Its range is now between $13 to $15 a share.

There were high hopes for the online flower broker.

"I think 1-800-Flowers.com will do exceptionally well," said Steve Lacey, an editor at IPO Reporter, prior to Tuesday's flop. "It's one of the stronger names."

The Westbury, N.Y.-based company, which also sells plants, gift baskets, gourmet foods and garden accessories, raked in sales of more than $203 million for the nine months ended March 28, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

Although industry watchers predict FTD.com's stock will have a solid debut, they expect the Downers Grove, Ill.-based firm to lag behind its bigger competitor. Not good considering 1-800-Flower.com had a "broken" IPO.

Among other IPOs Tuesday.

  • Quotesmith.com (Nasdaq: QUOT), the online provider of insurance quotes, also lost ground in its first trading day. The stock opened at $11 a share and moved up a buck before closing off 1 5/16 to 9 11/16. Hambrecht & Quist served as lead underwriter for the 5 million-share offering.

  • BigStar Entertainment Inc. (Nasdaq: BGST) also flopped, ending off 1 27/32 to 8 5/32 after pricing its IPO at $10 a share. However, the stock did manage to fight up 1/16 at its peak before losing ground.