E-Centives Bypasses Nasdaq, Launches IPO in Switzerland

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Hoping to avoid the downturn that has affected many newly public dot-coms because of the lackluster performance of the Nasdaq Stock Market recently, direct marketing infrastructure company e-centives Inc. launched its initial public offering on the SWX New Market in Switzerland.

E-centives, Bethesda, MD, became the first U.S. company to have its primary listing on the SWX when its IPO of 3.7 million shares, worth about $49.5 million, launched in October. On Dec. 4, e-centives' shares opened at $12.75.

The company said in October that its decision to go public in Switzerland was tied to its investor base. Swiss venture capitalist Peter Friedli heads an investment group that owns approximately three-quarters of e-centives' shares. The company plans to list its shares in the United States when the market becomes "more favorable."

Separately, e-centives is working with e-finance company Intuit Inc. to provide its promotion services to registered users of Intuit's Quicken TurboTax software. Consumers who buy TurboTax for tax year 2000 can receive up to $400 in e-centives offers and will receive an e-centives personal online organizer by opting in to the program.

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