June 30, 2006, 12:00 AM

Bidz.com and Gmarket experience different IPO reactions

Online jeweler Bidz has reduced by more than one-half the number of shares it plans to sell, while South Korean e-commerce mall operator Gmarket made its debut on NASDAQ at $15.25 per share, the highest end of its offering.

 

Two web retailing companies are each experiencing different reactions to their planned initial public offerings.

One company – online jeweler Bidz.com Inc. – is lowering the volume of shares it plans to sell because of current market conditions, while another, South Korean e-commerce mall operator, Gmarket Inc., debuted on NASDAQ on June 29 at the high end of its proposed stock price.

Originally, Bidz.com, No. 98 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, had planned to offer 6.2 million shares at a range of $8 to $10. But in a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bidz now expects to sell 3 million shares at a range of $7 to $8 per share. The new terms could raise almost $28 million in working capital, the company says in its latest filing.

Bidz will use up to $20 million of the proceeds to purchase more merchandise and approximately $2 million during the next two years to buy new technology and open another facility. The balance of the proceeds will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes, the company says. ThinkEquity Partners is the lead underwriter.

In another IPO update, investors like what the see in Gmarket Inc., the largest online mall operator in South Korea. The company made its debut on NASDAQ on June 29 and traded at the high end of its proposed terms. The stock, which the IPO set at $13.25 to $15.25 per share, debuted at $15.25.

Gmarket, which could sell as many as 9.1 million shares and raise as much as $139 million in new working capital, will use the proceeds to grow its business in South Korea, an e-commerce market with 25.4 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants and 33 million total Internet users, which represent 68.4% of Korea’s total population.

In June, Yahoo entered into an agreement to buy a stake of approximately 10% in Gmarket from Oak Investment Partners, currently the only major outside institutional investor in Gmarket.

 

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