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Tech Industry

Organic trades lower following public offering

Shares in the Net services firm drop slightly while competitors Lante, Razorfish and Agency.com ride the services wave.

After nearly doubling its $20 IPO price in its trading debut yesterday, shares of Organic dipped today as the Nasdaq fell.

Organic was trading this afternoon at $35.81, down 10.33 percent, but rebounded to close at $38, down $1.94, or about 5 percent.

The company, which is partly owned by advertising giant Omnicom, closed yesterday at $39.94 after hitting a high of $60. Organic sold about 7 percent of the company, or 5.5 million shares, through its offering. Omnicom, which is also an investor in Razorfish, holds about a 19 percent equity stake in Organic.

Prior to its IPO, Organic increased its per-share asking price from between $12 and $14 to between $18 and $20 a share. Organic competitors Razorfish and Agency.com were both up at market close. Razorfish increased about 9 percent to $50, Modem Media.Poppe Tyson inched up about 3 percent to $79.69 and Agency.com hovered at $44, up almost 1 percent.

Organic builds Web sites and helps companies with marketing and brand building. The company competes in a $100 billion Internet and technology services industry that includes giants such as EDS, CSC and IBM Global Services, along with smaller firms Agency.com, iXL, Scient, Viant, Razorfish and Luminant.

Another services company, systems integrator Lante, made its debut today, closing today at $54.94 a share, up 174.69 percent. The Chicago-based company yesterday more than doubled the target asking price to $20. The company also increased the number of shares of stock to be sold from 3.1 million to 4 million.

Lante is lead by Rudy Puryear, the former head of Andersen Consulting's e-commerce practice.

Wayne Segal, financial analyst at CS First Boston, said Lante's success is in part due to its strong partnership with Dell, as well as the company's recent shift to business-to-business e-commerce services from its role as a more traditional systems integrator.

"It has a very seasoned management team and seasoned board members," he said.

In December, Lante reported that Dell had agreed to purchase 2 million shares of Lante's common stock. In exchange, Dell agreed to provide Lante with at least $40 million worth of business over five years.

Dell was an early investor in Lante, participating in a $25 million funding round last June.

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.

News.com's Melanie Austria Farmer contributed to this report.