New Dot-Com Offering Proves A Dot-Bomb, More To Follow

Maybe it still isn't the best time to hold an initial public offering, after all.

It's been a tough week for IPOs, most notably for a high-profile player in the Internet industry. That means it's been difficult for the founders and initial investors in Orbitz, the travel-reservation website started by several airlines in 2000. An initial public offering, or IPO, is a company's first sale of stock to the general public. It's also a way for the individuals and companies that invested heavily in a startup to recoup money and possibly make more.

Orbitz announced earlier this week that it would price shares at $26 each, which turned out to be higher than the $22 to $24 per share that it expected in a November filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Orbitz began its trading life on the Nasdaq stock market on Wednesday. While the stock quickly climbed to $30.75 per share, it ultimately fell below its IPO price to close its first day of trading at $24.98. Orbitz (ORBZ) closed at $23.16, down $1.82 on volume of 5.25 million shares in trading on Thursday, its second day of trading.

More than 12 million shares of Orbitz were placed on sale on Wednesday - 4 million from the company itself and another 8.18 million among major stockholders, including American Airlines parent AMR. Orbitz said in a filing Wednesday that it would use the $93.9 million it would receive from the IPO for working capital and other unspecified corporate uses.

Even as Orbitz's IPO expectations encountered some turbulence, another high-tech company prepared its own initial public offering. In a filing with the SEC, Salesforce.com said that it expected to raise $115 million when it went public sometime early next year. The San Francisco-based company develops software for customer relationship management, or CRM. Salesforce.com reported $66 million in revenues in the first three quarters of the year, compared to revenues of $35.4 million during the same period in 2002. In the filing with the SEC, Salesforce.com said its service was a low-cost, easy-to-use application that is delivered by Web browser instead of software.

"The company provides a comprehensive customer relationship management, or CRM, service to businesses of all sizes and industries worldwide that is delivered through a standard Web browser," the company said Thursday.

Probably the most anticipated IPO of the Internet players is Google, which filed plans for an initial public offering of stock, but still hasn't set a date.

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