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IPO Roundup: Focal shines, Quokka struggles

Focal Communications Corporation (Nasdaq: FCOM), up 41 percent, or 5 3/8 to 18 3/8, was the most active of Wednesday's IPOs, which included debuts of Drugstore.com (Nasdaq: DSCM) as well as Liberate Technologies, Quokka Sports, and Packeteer Inc.

Focal, a local exchange carrier headquartered in Chicago, today announced an initial public offering of 9.95 million shares priced at $13 each. The deal is being managed by Salomon Smith Barney, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Credit Suisse First Boston and DLJdirect.

Focal is a facilities-based provider that offers data, voice and colocation services to large corporations, Internet service providers and resellers. Focal currently serves 13 metropolitan markets and plans to expand to 20 markets nationwide by the end of the year 2000.

  • Liberate Technologies (Nasdaq: LBRT) was up 20 percent, or 3 1/4 to 19 1/4 after it priced its 6.3 million shares at $16 each.

    Liberate, based in Redwood Shores, California, priced at the top of its range, raised to $14 to $16. CS First Boston, was the deal's lead underwriter and Hambrecht & Quist and Charles Schwab were co-managers.

    The company makes software enabling the delivery of Internet via appliances, and names Phone.com Inc. (Nasdaq: PHCM) and Spyglass Inc.(Nasdaq: SPYG) as similar companies. Liberate said it had net revenues of $17.3 million for the year-ended May 31 and a net loss of $33.1 million in fiscal 1999. Liberate also lists Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) as one of its competitors.

    Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq:ORCL) will own about 48 percent of the company's outstanding stock after the offering and a private placement, according to Liberate's prospectus.

  • Quokka Sports (Nasdaq: QKKA) struggled up 1/8 to 12 1/8, just above the $12 price tag it put on its 5.0 million shares.

    The online sports network based in San Francisco, had its IPO underwritten by Merrill Lynch, and named Lehman Brothers and Robertson Stephens as co-managers.

    The company of 186 employees competes with Sportsline USA (Nasdaq: SPLN) and Broadcast.com Inc. (Nasdaq: BCST). Analysts said the concept was unique, but were skeptical about its viability with investors because of concerns with its bandwidth approach, which could hit snags if there are delays in broadband development.

  • Packeteer Inc. (Nasdaq: PKTR) rose 14 7/8 to 29 7/8 after pricing its 4.0 million shares at $15, above its upwardly revise range.

    The Cupertino, California-based company of 90 employees makes local networks business bandwidth management products for congested WAN, or wide area networks.

    The initial public offering, made through BancBoston Robertson Stephens, Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. and Dain Rauscher Wessels, had estimated the initial stock price at between $10 and $12 per share.

    Proceeds from the offering will be used for general expenses, including working capital, repayment of debt and potential acquisitions, the company said.

    Reuters contributed to this report.