Globes, October 27, 2004
Shopping.com wows Nasdaq, leaps 60% on Day One

Investors could be forgiven for thinking the Internet bubble has returned. On its first day of trading on the Nasdaq exchange yesterday, Shopping.com's share price leaped more than 50 percent, reflecting a company value of $750 million.

On this basis, Shopping.com is the largest Israeli Internet company on Wall Street in history and the fourth-largest online shopping destination behind eBay, Amazon and Yahoo!

On Monday night, the company succeeded in raising $90 million through its IPO. Earlier this week, the company had decided to raise its initial asking share price from $14-16 to $16-18, and finally it managed to sell at the top of this range. The share climbed throughout the day yesterday, closing at $28.8. In after-hours trading, the share slipped slightly down.

Shopping.com shareholders also sold off stock to the tune of an additional $34 million. Co-founder Nahum Sharfman sold $2 million of his shares, leaving him with a $16.5 million stake, while co-founder Amir Ashkenazi sold off $1.1 million worth, leaving him with shares of $14 million.

The company was set up in 1997 and employs 300, about 100 of them in Israel. Shopping.com is registered as an American company, operating from Brisbane, California, and trades on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker SHOP.

The on-line comparison shopping site maintains offices in the Netanya industrial zone.

Meet the nouveau riche

Along with the founders, CEO Daniel Ciporin also took the opportunity to sell, cashing in 59,000 of his shares for $1.1 million, leaving him with a $20 million holding. In 2003, the CEO was paid $375,000. Ashkenazi, who is also VP Technology of Shopping.com, was paid $250,000 last year and received a bonus of $125,000.

Other investors delighted with the IPO included AOL and the Swiss bank UBS, which cashed in its entire holding of 268,000 shares.

Advanta Partners also chose to exit entirely from the venture, selling all of its 185,000 shares, while Hollinger Capital, owners of the Jerusalem Post, sold 150,000 of its shares, holding on to a further 251,000. Clal Industries, whose portfolio is managed by Infinity venture capital fund, sold off all its shares for $1.4 million through Clal Electronics. Bank of America sold 33,000 shares, holding on to 100,000.

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