Advertising.com Files for $100M IPO

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Advertising.com became the latest online advertising company to file for an initial public offering, registering this week to raise as much as $100 million.


Advertising.com made $18.7 million in 2003 on $132.3 million in sales, the company reported in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company grew revenue 79 percent from 2002 and turned a profit after losing $565,000 in 2002. Advertising.com ended 2003 with $42.3 million in cash.


The Baltimore company, founded in August 1998, runs marketing campaigns through an ad network. It buys ad inventory on an impression basis, then sells it to advertisers with cost-per-action or cost-per-click pricing.


The proposed stock offering is underwritten by Goldman Sachs and co-managed by Piper Jaffray and Deutsche Bank Securities. The offering's date and share price have not been set. The filing proposed Advertising.com's shares trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker "ADCM."


Advertising.com said in its filing it would use the proceeds for working capital, general corporate purposes and possible acquisitions.


This proposed IPO comes amid gathering enthusiasm for the prospects of online advertising. Piper Jaffray expects the industry to grow 21 percent this year to $8.1 billion. The optimism has lifted the stock prices of publicly traded online ad companies and made Wall Street more hospitable to stock offerings from online ad firms after shunning them for three years after the dot-com meltdown.


On March 25, e-commerce search engine Shopping.com filed for a $75 million IPO. Like Advertising.com, the Brisbane, CA, company is profitable, making $6.9 million in 2003. Investors have eagerly awaited a Google stock offering, which some expect could net the company $5 billion to $10 billion.


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