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Gameplay.com IPO nets £31m

Not quite up to Freeserve standards, but maybe a better long-term bet

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UK online games company Gameplay.com yesterday became Britain's second big Internet IPO, selling 57.9 per cent of its stock to institutional investors and raising £31 million in the process. The company claimed the offer was ten times oversubscribed -- good, but nowhere near Freeserve's recent float, which was 30 times oversubscribed. Still, the float, which saw shares offered at 135 pence each, just under a week before they begin trading on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM), valued the Gameplay.com at £53.6 million. Again, that's way lower than Freeserve's market cap of £2.2 billion, bit still nothing to be sniffed at. And online gaming will be popular long after everyone has got used to free Internet access. Gameplay.com was formed earlier this year when online games retailer Interactive Commercial Enterprises merged with British Telecom's Wireplay dedicated online gaming network. Wireplay flourished at first by offering gamers a cheap, dedicated network to host multi-player games. But the arrival of ever-faster modems and better Internet support in the games themselves eliminated the need for Wireplay. ®

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