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Riverstone streams toward public debut

Cabletron Systems spinoff Riverstone Networks is set to go public Friday, the first of several networking companies in line for initial public offerings this year.

    Cabletron Systems spinoff Riverstone Networks is set to go public Friday, the first of several networking companies in line for initial public offerings this year.

    Riverstone, which makes networking hardware that telecommunications service providers use to speed content over the Internet, priced at $12 per share Thursday afternoon. The company, which will start trading Friday, has sold 10 million shares to raise about $120 million.

    Riverstone previously lowered its pricing range to between $11 and $13 each from an initial range of $12 to $14 that it set last fall. Riverstone executives recently completed a three-week tour of investment firms, such as mutual fund companies, hoping to drum up interest for the company's offering.

    The company, which competes against Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and other players in the lucrative service provider market, will become the latest technology company to brave the tepid IPO market. KPMG Consulting last week saw its share price jump more than 30 percent in its long-awaited Nasdaq debut.

    With the IPO, Riverstone will become the first network equipment maker to go public this year--and the outcome will be closely watched by other networking companies that have filed IPOs, such as Tellium, Convergent Networks, Unisphere Networks and Zhone Technologies.

    Riverstone, one of four companies spun off from Cabletron, reported in December third-quarter revenue of $26.8 million, a 30 percent increase from the previous quarter. Its customers include service providers AT&T, British Telecom and EarthLink.

    Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, J.P. Morgan Chase, Lehman Brothers and Salomon Smith Barney are underwriting Riverstone's IPO. The company will trade under the ticker symbol "RSTN."