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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

Snowball.com makes modest debut

Snowball.com shares closed up 4 5/16, or 39 percent, to 15 5/16 Tuesday in its initial public offering after pricing 6.25 million shares at $11 each.

The "generation i" Internet company operates a network of web sites aimed at the Internet generation.

Snowball.com (Nasdaq: SNOW), which recently changed its ticker symbol from the originally proposed "SNBL," is not to be confused with XDogs.com, an e-commerce business dedicated to the outdoor sports. XDogs.com previously held the "SNOW" ticker symbol, but is now listed as "XDGS."

The deal looked promising based on the pull lead underwriter Goldman Sachs usually exhibits, but shares priced in the middle of their $10 to $12 range. Chase Hambrecht & Quist and Robertson Stephens are co-managers for the deal.

"It's got lots of buzz behind it," said Kenan Pollack of IPO Central. If its valued as a consumer stock, which is not in high demand, it may not do well, but if its valued as a niche play, it could do very well, he added.

Generation i has been pegged as the combination of Generation X and Y.

Though the company's revenue doubled has since 1998, its losses have soared. For the year ended December 31, Snowball had a net loss of $34.8 million on revenue of $6.7 million, as compared to net loss of $3.7 on revenue of $3.3 million in 1998.

The company said it relies on IGN, a network of sites that target Generation i men. IGN accounted for about 70 percent of Snowball's page views in January 2000.

Snowball.com's competitors include Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), Disney (NYSE: DIS), CBS (NYSE: CBS) and NBCi (Nasdaq: NBCI), which have all recently combined with, made acquisitions in significant Internet companies. Other competitors which are primarily focused on targeting Generation i online include MTV.com, Warner Bros. Online, iTurf (Nasdaq: TURF), and Alloy Online (Nasdaq: ALOY).

Though Alloy languishes not far from its May IPO price of 15, analysts believe it has a clear roadmap to profits. iTurf shares have skidded to 10 5/8 from their offering price of $22.