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Freeserve float massively over-subscribed

Stock shortages and reduced allocations in the offing

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If you applied for shares in Freeserve, you might not get as many as you thought you would. Demand for the shares has been overwhelming and brokers are talking about a real stock shortage and a tenfold over-subscription. The deadline for applications is 1pm tomorrow. Freeserve users were given first dibs on the shares, but the powers that be (Freeserve and its brokers) have reserved the right to decide on share allocations if the issue were oversubscribed. Freeserve says it will announce its decision on Monday, but would not comment any further. The controversy over the value of the company continues, with some brokers warning clients to keep a healthy distance. Miles Saltiel of Panmure Gordon told the Daily Telegraph that Freeserve was "deliberately creating an institutional scramble for stock". The shares, which have been hit by the news of AOL's planned free Internet access in the UK, will be sold at around 130-150 pence each, but Saltiel said they are only worth 60 pence. Freeserve made a loss of £1 million last year on sales of £2.7 million. ®

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