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Street.com gears up for London float

THESTREET.COM INC, the loss-making US Internet financial news service, is launching a website in the UK with a view to floating the business possibly as early as next year.

The Nasdaq-listed company, capitalised at $484m (pounds 303m), has created a UK subsidiary, TheStreet.co.uk, which is to launch a financial news website next year.

The company, which has 138 employees, plans to replicate its employee- ownership structure in the UK operation.

A company insider said: "We'd expect the value of an employee's equity stake to be a quantum leap on from their basic salary. Whilst all energies are being concentrated on launching the site, flotation is an obvious possibility."

TheStreet.co.uk currently has one employee, 28-year-old managing director Claudia Jay, who joined last week from Pearson, the media group. She was previously responsible for the services attached to FT.com, the Financial Times' website. Ms Jay declined to disclose the size of her stake in TheStreet.co.uk, but said she was "highly incentivised".

"Revenues will come from a mixture of subscriptions and advertising," she said.

The site would be pitched at both the lay investor and the professional market, competing with existing real-time services, like Reuters, and new online sites such as Freeserve's UK-iNvest.com, she said.

TheStreet.com owns more than 50 per cent of TheStreet.co.uk. The balance is owned by a consortium of venture capital groups, including 3i, providing pounds 10.6m to cover start-up costs. The US business will provide only Internet expertise and no financial support to for the UK venture.

Martin Baker, associate editor of the Sunday Business newspaper, will take up editorship of the site at the end of October. TheStreet.com is forecast to post maiden annual profits in 2002.