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Net consulting firm Lante doubles in trading debut

Shares in the Net consulting firm jump more than 180 percent in its trading debut, the latest company in the sector to receive a warm welcome on Wall Street.

Shares of Net consulting firm Lante more than doubled today during its market debut from its target price of $20.

Lante, which increased the share price target of its initial public offering late yesterday from a previous range of $10 to $12 per share, opened at $42. In afternoon trading, Lante shares were up $36.44, or 182 percent, to $56.44, on volume of 3.7 million.

The Internet consulting firm also increased the number of shares of stock to be sold from $3.1 million to $4 million. The company seeks to raise $80 million, a significant increase compared to the $50 million it sought under the IPO's initial terms announced in December.

The Chicago-based firm led by Rudy Puryear, the former head of Andersen Consulting's e-commerce practice, focuses mainly on business-to-business e-commerce projects.

Lante competes in the growing Internet services market against companies such as Sapient, Proxicom, Scient and a host of others, which provide professional services such as Web site development, business strategy and integration work.

Most of these start-ups, which have all recently gone public, have enjoyed successful runs on Wall Street.

Lately, the company has been focused on rounding out its management team, snagging executives from traditional consulting firms, including EDS and Computer Sciences (CSC).

Last week, the company named former CSC executive Christopher Davis as the managing director of its newly created unit that oversees customer projects dealing with business-to-business e-commerce marketplaces.

Lante has also recently hired former EDS executives Marvin Richardson and Peter Hutto as head of its technology practice and senior principal of its Los Angeles office, respectively. Prior to Lante, both executives worked for EDS' $2 billion e-commerce unit, E.Solutions.

Lante said it intends to use money raised through its IPO for marketing, recruiting, hiring, upgrading its information systems, and expanding into new markets.

The firm, which has more than 300 employees, has offices in Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston and Charlotte, N.C. Its clients include Microsoft, as well as start-ups Beautyjungle.com and Chempoint.com.

Credit Suisse First Boston will act as lead underwriter for the offering, the company said. Other investment bankers involved in the offering include Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown.

The company trades on the Nasdaq market under the ticker symbol "LNTE."