IPO Roundup: Mediaplex, LifeMinders.com take flight

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Mediaplex (Nasdaq: MPLX) closed up 17, or 142 percent, to 29 in its debut Friday, after 6 million shares priced at $12, the top of a raised price range of $10 to $12 a share.

Lehman Brothers is the lead underwriter for the offering, for which the original estimated range was $8 to $10 a share. SG Cowen and USB Piper Jaffray are co-managers for the deal.

This offering is "under the radar," said Tom Taulli, analyst for Internet.com. It is one of many gems getting lost in the shuffle with so many new issues coming to market.

Mediaplex's technology, which links corporate intranet of customers to their online advertising - so they can generate real time targeted adds, should make them a good bet, Taulli said. The company has also signed big deals with Ariba (Nasdaq: ARBA) and DoubleClick (Nasdaq: DCLK), he added.

"Mediaplex is a venture type of company - their technology, which they call MOJO, is the next step in online advertising," said Steven Tuen of IPO Value Monitor, who said the deal looked promising.

Mediaplex's services let companies integrate their internal business data with their online advertising and direct marketing activities to deliver customized messages and offers to Web site visitors. The company's proprietary technology, named "MOJO," an acronym for "mobile Java objects," lets its customers change the content of Internet messages instantaneously, in response to changes in their underlying business variables, such as inventory levels, product pricing and customer data.

Although the company's revenues are increasing, it has lost about $30.4 million since inception. For the 9 months ended September 30, Mediaplex had revenue of $13.9 million, as compared to $2.9 million in the 1998 period. Net loss widened to $12.6 million, versus $1.1 million in 1998.

Mediaplex's top clients, based on revenues from January 1, 1999 to September 30, 1999, were Ashford.com, DATEK Online, FreeShop.com, MyShopNow.com, OfficeMax, ShopNow.com, Strong Funds and uBid. In the first nine months of 1999, DATEK Online and ShopNow.com accounted for 17 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

Mediaplex's proprietary technology, MOJO, is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If no patent issues, Mediaplex said it will rely on trade secret law to protect its technology, which may be more difficult to monitor and enforce.

Mediaplex faces competition from ad serving companies, such as AdForce (Nasdaq: ADFC), DoubleClick (Nasdaq: DCLK) and Engage Technologies (Nasdaq: ENGA); publisher networks that provide services directly to clients, such as Flycast Communications (Nasdaq: FCST) and 24/7 Media (Nasdaq: TFSM).

Among other IPOs Friday:

  • LifeMinders.com (Proposed ticker: LFMN)

    Online direct marketing company LifeMinders.com Inc. (Nasdaq: LFMN) closed up 8 3/8, or 60 percent, to 22 3/8 Friday after it had priced its initial public offering of 4.2 million shares at $14 each, the high end of its expected range of $12-$14.

    Hambrecht & Quist LLC is the lead manager for the offering, Thomas Weisel Partners LLC, PaineWebber Inc. and Wit Capital Corp. are co-managers.

    LifeMinders sends personalized information, including advertisements from about 50 advertising partners, via electronic mail to more than 4 million members based on members' preferences. Its e-mail messages contain reminders and tips to help members organize their lives. Its proprietary information about its members give its advertising partners the ability to reach their target markets.

    Revenue for the 9 months ended September 30, 1999 was $5.9 million, as compared to just $26, 000 in the 1998 period. Net loss was a whopping $15.1 million for the 1999 period, compared to $1.5 million in the 1998 period. LifeMinders had an accumulated deficit of about $16.9 million as of September 30.