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Sources: Webvan IPO is expected next week

Webvan is expected to price its shares next week after one of the year's most highly anticipated initial public offerings was put on ice for an SEC-requested cooling off period.

Webvan is expected to launch its highly anticipated IPO next week, following a requested cooling off period by securities regulators, sources said.

In a sign that the company has resolved some of the concerns expressed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Webvan today refiled its IPO plans with federal regulators--one week after the online grocer put its IPO on ice. Webvan shares had been scheduled to price last Thursday and to begin public trading Friday.

Webvan and its underwriters, Goldman Sachs, declined to comment on when the company would go public. But institutional investors said they were told the company is now scheduled to price its shares and begin trading next week.

Meanwhile, in an unusual development, the company's new filing now includes a warning that investors should only rely on information in the prospectus and disregard recent statements by Webvan executives. Webvan delayed its IPO after the Securities and Exchange Commission cited apparent violations of restrictions on what companies can say prior to an IPO.

CNET TV: Online groceries
CNET TV: Online groceries
In the prospectus, the company states that information published by an Internet publication did not include other risks associated with investing in the company.

"The article…referred to a projected loss of over $300 million for the year 2001 stated during the call by a representative of Goldman Sachs. The representative of Goldman Sachs stated during the call that its financial projections for our company were: $11.9 million of revenue and a $73.8 million net loss for the year 1999, $120.0 million of revenue and a $154.3 million net loss for the year 2000, and $518.2 million of revenue and a $302 million net loss for the year 2001," the company stated in its filing.

It continued: "These projections are based upon a number of estimates and assumptions and are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, including the timing and cost of our distribution center rollout, the volume and size of customer orders, market penetration, and competition."

The company further said that the projections are speculative, and it's likely that one or more of the estimates on which the projections were based will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results.

In the prospectus, Webvan also cites an article in the October 18 issue of Forbes magazine in which CEO George Shaheen was interviewed. Shaheen, 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 prospectus that Andersen and Webvan are "vastly different" businesses and should not be compared.

Although Webvan has refiled its IPO, no date was available on when the company is expected to price its shares and begin public trading.

The company is seeking to raise up to $325 million, based on the high end of its pricing range of $11 to $13 a share. The company plans to float 25 million shares and trade under the ticker "WBVN."