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Webvan IPO pushed back once again

Shares in the online grocer had been expected to be priced today but the company's underwriter is now expecting the launch to occur tomorrow.

The initial public offering for online grocer Webvan has been delayed, again.

Webvan shares were expected to be priced today and to begin public trading tomorrow. However, a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs, Webvan's underwriter for the offering, said today the plans have been pushed back one day, meaning public trading would begin Friday. No explanation was given for the delay.

When the IPO takes place, Webvan shares will trade under the ticker symbol "WBVN." The company intends to sell 25 million shares for between $11 to $13, raising up to $325 million.

Although it is not uncommon for IPOs to be stalled briefly, in Webvan's case the launch has already been set back by several weeks.

The shares were expected to be sold to investors last month, but the Securities and Exchange Commission stepped in and called for a cooling off period. Regulators were concerned about apparent violations of restrictions on what companies can say prior to an IPO.

The company later filed an amended prospectus to address the concerns. In the prospectus, the company states that information published by an Internet publication and attributed to Goldman Sachs did not include other risks associated with investing in the company.

The prospectus also cites an interview with Webvan CEO George Shaheen that appeared in the October 18 issue of Forbes magazine. Shaheen, the former chief of Andersen Consulting, said in the article that "Webvan was all about leveraging technology and reinventing the grocery business, just as Andersen had reinvented consulting...[and will] set the rules for the largest consumer sector in the economy."

But the company notes in the new prospectus that Andersen and Webvan are "vastly different" businesses and should not be compared.

Webvan posted revenues of $395,000 for the six months ended June 30, compared with zero a year ago. Webvan lost $35.1 million during that period, compared with a loss of $3.26 million a year ago.