The Dot-Com IPO Returns –

It’s beginning to feel a lot like the late 1990s again. IPOs are heating up, and dot-coms are among those ready to go public. It’s not as frenzy as it was a few years ago when companies tripped over themselves to attach a “.com” at the end of their names and then launch IPOs. But a few dot-coms in recent months have filed their S-1 registration papers. And, as the aftermarket performance of IPOs levels out, these dot-coms could give a boost to the overall aftermarket.

Chief among the dot-com IPOs is venture-backed Shopping.com, a Brisbane, Calif.-based company that operates an online comparison-shopping Web site. The company, which scrapped a 2001 IPO, has more to offer in 2004. It posted its first annual profit last year, according to its filing with the SEC. The company, which filed for an IPO in mid-March, expects to raise up to $75 million.

Meanwhile, Salesforce.com is another hotly anticipated dot-com IPO. The San Francisco-based developer of customer service software filed for an IPO in December for $115 million. The IPO was delayed, as of mid-April, as the result of an SEC investigation into how the company was recording sales commissions. But IPO watchers note that Salesforce has been reporting positive earnings. For the first nine months of fiscal 2004, Salesforce reported a $4.7 million profit, compared to a loss of $9.3 million in fiscal 2003. But with health care stocks, such as Acusphere and NitroMed, trading far below their original offering price, the dot-com IPO could be a welcome addition to the aftermarket numbers.

– Alastair Goldfisher, Managing Editor