LIBERTY SURF IPO CLOSES FIRST DAY WITH 30% GAIN

PARIS — Free-access provider Liberty Surf Thursday ended its first day of trading at 30 percent above its introductory price — a significant gain for its backers, Kingfisher PLC and Europ@web, Bernard Arnault’s online investment unit, but less spectacular than other recent tech initial public offerings.
Liberty Surf, priced at $39, closed at $51.02 on the Paris Bourse, valuing the company at $4.3 billion. Dollar figures are converted from euro at current exchange.
Europ@web and Kingfisher each still hold 39 percent of the company. Some analysts said declines on Nasdaq and among tech shares in Europe throughout the week had soured appetites for Liberty Surf.
Some 6.7 million shares representing 10 percent of the group’s capitalization were traded on Thursday. The 12.6 million share issue, all new shares, was oversubscribed more than 60 times.
The Paris Bourse relaxed rules concerning volatility for the issue. Typically, trading is suspended if shares fluctuate more than 10 percent. Now they are allowed to rise and fall 50 percent before trading is stopped. Trading in Liberty Surf was briefly suspended several times in the session.

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