MORE IPOS TO COME IN NEWSPAPER DOT-COM SPACE

By: Carl Sullivan

Vendors Gear Up For Fundraising



NEW ORLEANS – New York’s Real Media Inc. became the latest dot com to
announce an initial public offering Tuesday, hoping to raise $75
million. No surprise there. Some of its competitors, including
DoubleClick, are already public. The company will partially use the
money to finance its rapid expansion into overseas markets.



One of Real Media’s customers, The New York Times Co., just recently
announced a plan to take its Web assets to the stock market in the form
of a tracking stock. Analysts expect a number of newspaper companies to
follow suit with tracking stocks of their own or completely new dot-com
companies. Candidates include Knight Ridder, Belo, and Times Mirror.
Industry watchers at E&P’s Interactive Newspapers Conference in New
Orleans say to expect another newspaper Web IPO by summer.



In vendor world, a number of companies that service the newspaper
industry are also gearing up for IPOs. PowerAdz.com of Rensselaer,
N.Y., which raised nearly $9 million in private equity in December,
plans to go public sometime this year. While the company now has about
1,200 newspaper clients for its Web classifieds and publishing systems,
it has been careful not to align itself with any one newspaper chain,
instead wooing investment partners like First Albany Enterprise Funding
and Advantage Capital Partners.



‘It’s important to have the reins loose enough to act like an Internet
company,’ says Lamonte Rhoades, vice president of channel alliances.
PowerAdz has managed to avoid some of the internal politics and inertia
that come with multiple media-company owners. That said, the company
expects to announce a major strategic partner from the media business
within a month or so.



Speaking of multiple owners, Chicago’s Classified Ventures has been the
subject of much IPO rumor lately, but the company denies it. A
spokesman says the latest rumors started after Classified Ventures
hired corporate communications Vice President Bess Gallanis, who comes
from Financial Relations Board/BSMG Worldwide, a firm well-known for
taking startups public.


Officials at AdOne LLC of New York have said they would consider going
public, but there’s no word on when, or if, that will happen. AdOne is
owned by 11 major media groups, including Belo, Hearst Corp., and
Pulitzer Inc.



An AdOne partner, Pentawave Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz., is planning for an
IPO later in 2000. The company develops online automotive and
employment systems. Unlike PowerAdz, Pentawave is seeking equity
partners from the newspaper business. Scripps is a big investor and
Copley has a small stake in the company. Pentawave hopes to raise about
$8 million from accredited investors in a Dutch auction later this
month.



Not everyone’s dreaming of IPO riches. Thomson Interactive Media of
Stamford, Conn., is content for the moment to receive millions from its
Thomson parent. ‘We lust after the kinds of evaluations Wall Street is
giving and we certainly lust after the cash,’ says Paul Camp, CEO. ‘If
I could get my hands on $20 million or $30 million, I could do a lot.
But by the same token, we want to build a company that’s going to last.
I’m not sure all these dot coms will survive the long term.’



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Carl Sullivan (carls@mediainfo.com ) is editor of
Editor & Publisher Online.










(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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