OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Aether Systems Inc., a provider of information services for hand-held electronic devices, held an initial public offering October 21, offering 6 million shares at $16 apiece. The company’s stock priced above its $13 to $15 filing range.
Underwritten by Merrill Lynch & Co., BancBoston Robertson Stephens, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp. and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, the IPO left 26.1 million shares outstanding.
NexGen Technologies L.L.C., 3Com Corp., Reuters MarketClip Holdings S.a.r.l., Pyramid Ventures Inc. and Telcom Ventures were venture backers. There were no selling shareholders.
Aether Systems offers information necessary to design, develop, sell and support a full range of wireless data services that enable customers to use hand-held devices for real-time data communications and transactions.
The offering is expected to generate approximately $88 million in proceeds, which will be used to acquire additional working capital and to repay debt incurred under the senior secured interim credit facility with Merrill Lynch & Co.
Aether has never been profitable, losing $2.7 million in 1997 and $4.7 million in 1998.
Janice Roberts, senior vice president at 3Com, joined the board of directors in June. Rajendra Singh, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer at Telcom, and Rahul Prakash, president at Telcom, joined the board in October. Devin Wenig, vice-president of marketing at Reuters America, was expected to join the board prior to the offering.
Aether Systems – Selected Financial
(in thousands, except per share data)
Year Ended December 31 Six Months Ended June 30
1996 1997 1998 1998 1999
Total revenue 1,355 1,786 1,512 561 787
Net loss -417 -2,747 -4,693 -2,119 -4,320