ASHFORD.COM IPO RAISES $74.4M

NEW YORK — Ashford.com Inc, an Internet retailer that sells luxury goods, raised $74.4 million from the sale of 6.25 million shares in its initial public offering.
The shares were priced Wednesday night at $13 each, the high end of its projected range between $11 to $13. The stock opened at 18 and leaped to 19 1/2 in over-the-counter trading before settling down to close at 13 by the closing bell. On Friday, the stock closed at 12 5/8.
Proceeds from the IPO will be used for marketing, inventory, personnel and facilities, as well as to possibly acquire complementary businesses, products and technologies.
The firm’s site, Ashford.com, was launched in April 1998, and currently sells watches, fine pens, fragrances, sunglasses and personal accessories, including handbags, belts and wallets. It plans to add jewelry, ties and scarves in the future. In the quarter ended June 30, Ashford lost $3.2 million on sales of $3.6 million.
Bernard Arnault, through his Internet investment vehicle Markas Holding, owns 2.39 million Ashford shares, which represents a 6.4 percent stake. Arnault, the chairman of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has been busy this year acquiring a series of stakes in Internet businesses, including Boo.com.
Other shareholders included Benchmark Capital Partners II, Menlo Park, Calif., with a 29.5 percent stake; as well as founders James Whitcomb, president and chief operating officer, and J. Robert Shaw, chairman, with 8.4 percent each.
Goldman Sachs, BankBoston Robertson Stephens and Deutsch Banc. Alex. Brown underwrote the offering.