Net pioneer among this week's IPOs

Genuity, the Internet unit of GTE that claims to have delivered the world's first email, is one of 15 companies scheduled to launch initial public offerings this week.

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Genuity, the Internet unit of GTE that claims to have delivered the world's first email, is one of 15 companies scheduled to launch initial public offerings this week.

The relatively crowded calendar reflects an IPO market that is slowly recovering from a spring drought; in May and June an average of five IPOs were launched each week, according to market research firm CommScan.

Genuity, which was previously called BBN, in 1969 helped design and implement Arpanet, considered the precursor to the Internet. In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Burlington, Mass.-based company takes credit for delivering the world's first email.

Genuity is looking to raise up to $2.3 billion through the sale of 173.9 million shares for $12 to $15.

The company, which has filed to trade under the symbol "GENU," lost $210 million in the first quarter on revenues of $248 million.

"They're big; they're an old-line player," said Randall Roth, a research analyst with Renaissance Capital. "Genuity was one of the original contractors for providing network services."

Among other companies planning to go public that could garner investor attention:

 Mobile Telesystems, one of Russia's largest cellular providers, hopes to raise more than $300 million through the sale of 15 million shares at $19 to $25. Russia is a nation with "a lot of hidden potential," said Jeff Hirshckorn, a senior market analyst with IPO.com. The shares will trade under the ticker "MBT."

 Stratos Lightwave, which sells optical components and cable assemblies to industry giants such as Cisco, Nortel Networks and Alcatel, plans to sell 8.75 million shares at a range of $16 to $18, raising $136.8 million.

Prior to this offering, Stratos was a wholly owned subsidiary of Methode Electronics, which will own between 84 percent and 86 percent of the common stock after the offering.

 Marvell Technology Group, which makes integrated circuits for broadband data communications, plans to sell 6 million shares for $12 to $14. The range was raised by $3 last week, typically a reflection of strong demand for the shares.

Underwriters and investors of this week's IPOs hope to ride on the coattails of last week's winners. Shares of Accelerated Network, which began trading today, soared 220 percent, while shares of Handspring, the maker of handheld computers, rose 35 percent Wednesday.

This week is the last full week of trading before the July 4 holiday, which includes a shortened trading day July 3. The Federal Reserve is scheduled to meet tomorrow and Wednesday to discuss further interest rate hikes, which is injecting some uncertainty into the market.

"I think the general consensus is that the Federal Reserve will pause in terms of rate hikes, and I think the companies are sort of betting on that," said Steven Tuen, director of research for the IPO Value Monitor. "I think the other imperative is to complete the deals before the July 4 weekend. That really signifies that summer's here, and I think they're afraid of the summer slowdown."

This week 15 IPOs are expected to raise $3.46 billion, breaking a two-month dry spell in which no single week raised more than $800 million. In the entire month of May, IPOs raised a total of $2.07 billion, according to CommScan.

"I don't think we're back to a point where everything is a home run, but there certainly are some sparks of hope," Tuen said.

Other IPOs this week include Internet venture capital firm Divine InterVentures, data storage firm Storage Networks and Netease.com, a Beijing-based provider of Chinese-language Internet services.