Internet fever as Danny Kelly's 365 flotation is 10 times oversubscribed

THERE WAS a fresh outbreak of Internet fever on the stock market yesterday when 365 Corporation, the Internet content provider, priced its flotation at the top end of a revised range valuing the company at pounds 284.6m.

The company's advisers said the offer had been 10 times over-subscribed and the shares would now be priced at 160p. This is top of the 150p-160p range, which was itself raised from the initial estimate of 135p-150p. Dealings in the shares are due to start today and a huge premium is being forecast.

IG Index, the spread betting specialist, was yesterday offering a spread for the opening price of 238p-246p. This compares with the firm's original estimate of 174p-178p. The float will raise pounds 50m net of expenses for 365. Dan Thompson, chief executive, said: "We believe the degree of over-subscription indicates market recognition of 365's strengths."

365 has developed 14 internet sites, mainly on sporting themes though its also caters for music fans and "lonely heart" relationship-seekers.

The float values Mr Thompson's stake at pounds 10m. Danny Kelly, the television presenter, who acts as 365's publishing director, finds his stake worth pounds 2.3m, with around pounds 2m of share options. Mr Kelly, 42, is a former editor of Total Sport, Q magazine and the New Musical Express. He co-founded 365 two years ago.

However, there were complaints yesterday from smaller stockbrokers and institutional investors who said they had been denied any allocation of stock. The company defended this practice saying it was targeting its offer at retail investors and larger institutions which intended to hold the shares for the longer term rather than off-load them in early dealings.

Separately, shares in Freecom.net, the website developer, soared to a huge premium to its issue price when shares started dealing on the Alternative Investment Market yesterday. After an hour's trading the stock was trading at 312.5p, more than double the 130p issue price. They eventually closed at 291.5p, valuing the business at more than pounds 100m.

Freecom plans to use the pounds 20m proceeds for working capital and acquisitions. Freecom.net builds and operates websites for smaller businesses and is in talks about international deals.

Other companies in Europe are also looking to cash in on the Internet fever. The next big issue will be World Online, the Dutch-based ISP, which plans to float 25 per cent of its shares in a move expected to value the company at around pounds 4bn.

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