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Engage Technologies soars in IPO

Engage Technologies (Nasdaq: ENGA) charmed its way up 108 percent with its offering of 6 million shares priced at $15, the top of its $13 to $15 range.

Other IPOs skyrocketing Tuesday are Talk City (Nasdaq: TCTY), up 11 percent, or 1 1/4 to 13 1/4 after pricing at $12, and Convergent Communications Inc.(Nasdaq: CONV), up 48 percent, or 7 1/4 to 22 1/4 after pricing at at $15. All were outshone by Gadzoox Networks (ZOOX), up 271 percent, or 57, to 78. After pricing at $21, the IPO was expected to be a real hit.

Be. Inc. (Nasdaq: BEOS) also made its debut today. Shares rose a mere 41 percent, up 2 7/16 to 8 7/16, after the company lowered its price range to $6 from $8 to $10 a share. Buying in to Be's alternative operating system had already been established as a questionable investment.

Shares in Engage were up 16 1/4 to 31 1/4 Tuesday. The price range for Engage's IPO was upped from $9 to $11 per share Monday, in a sign of strong demand.

With Goldman Sachs underwriting the offering, and sugar daddy CMGI (Nasdaq: CMGI) holding its hand, the stock could be set to soar in its debut.

CMGI, Inc. currently owns about 96 percent of the outstanding shares of Engage, and after the offering will own approximately 83 percent of the company and "continue to control Engage" following its IPO according to the regulatory filings. Now that CMGI has AltaVista in its network, Engage's profiles will come in handy.

In addition, current CMGI shareholders will have the option to buy into Engage at the offering price.

Engage, based in Andover, Mass., compiles profiles of potential clients for target marketing, compares to DoubleClick Inc. (Nasdaq:DCLK), AdForce (Nasdaq: ADFC) and NetGravity (Nasdaq: NETG).

Among the few risks cited in the regulatory filings is the growing concern with "cookies" and data collection. The company's Engage Knowledge database uses cookies to collect information about Internet users so that Web sites subscribing to the service can target advertisements, content and e-commerce offerings. Most Internet browsers now allow users to prevent cookies from being stored, or delete them from their hard drives. The Engage Knowledge database currently contains more than 30 million consumer profiles.

Engage Knowledge profiles are designed to protect the privacy of Web users because they do not contain information about the identity of an individual user, such as name, home or e-mail address or domain name.

The company had a net loss of $21.2 million, or 62 cents a share, and a revenue of $6.5 million for the 9 months ending April 30. The company has incurred net losses totaling $47.6 million as of April 30, 1999 since its inception in 1995, according to company estimates.

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