LookSmart shines in trading debut

Shares in the company, which operates a directory designed to help people navigate the Internet, jump 44 percent in their first day of trading after the company's initial stock sale.

SAN FRANCISCO--Shares of LookSmart, which operates a directory designed to help people navigate the Internet, jumped 44 percent in their first day of trading after the company's initial stock sale.

LookSmart rose 5.31 to 17.31 in trading of 12.4 million shares, making it the tenth-most active stock in U.S. markets. The surge raised LookSmart's market value to about $1.5 billion.

The San Francisco-based company sold 7.7 million shares yesterday at $12 each, raising $92.4 million. Its directory lists more than 800,000 Web sites organized into categories such as entertainment and shopping. In all, the company maintains 60,000 online categories. LookSmart collects advertising, licensing, and transaction revenue.

In addition to its search service, the company also runs RewardMall.com, a Web site that helps buyers and sellers find each other, and "Buy it on the Web," an Internet shopping site that promotes products seen on television.

LookSmart trades under the symbol "LOOK." Goldman Sachs managed the stock sale, assisted by BancBoston Robertson Stephens and Hambrecht & Quist.

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