Net Finance News: 1-7 Aug 1999


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6 Aug, 1999Online shopping kids are full of beenz
Wall St tumbles as Net stocks stumble


EarthPort.com plc

-- which operates fundraising lotteries on the Net -- has appointed Andrew Millard as MD of its EarthPort Entertainments Ltd subsidiary and a director of the main board.

United News and Media

(CMP's new owner) is buying an American online photo agency called

Definitive Stock

for $30 million in cash and shares. It will combine the one year-old royalty free company with its

Visual Communications

subsidiary and may float the enlarged entity as a pureplay Internet company, according to the



James Brearley & Son

is offering real-time online share dealing for retail punters. Called ICON Personal Share Dealing, this service costs £25 per year joining fee and £20 per trade.

Sign up in August

and you don't have to pay the annual fee, the

Investors Chronicle


AIM-listed ISP


shares are "high enough" at 745p, the

Investors Chronicle

advises. Easynet is "doing well, and parts of its market are here to stay, but priced at seven times sales and with thin profits there is room for a little caution".

New AIM listing


, wants to invest in start-up IT and internet ventures. It wants to do one deal a month from October and its investments will range from £30K to £150K, the

Investors Chronicle

reveals. The company has raised £1.8 million through a share placing at 5p. Shares are currently trading at 7.5p.


is buying a 20 per cent stake in Bravenet.com for $1 million. It has an option to buy the rest of the company. FortuneCity will offer Bravenet's web design tools and personalised message forms to its 3.1 million members.

5 Aug, 1999Softbank closes $600m VC fund

says it is the UK's biggest Internet bank with 400,000 customers -- twice as much as its nearest, unnamed rival and six times as much as Egg, Prudential's extravagantly loss-making subsidiary.

Fortune City founder chases silver surfers
3i drums beat for Jungle Online

George Soros wannabes can trade in foreign currency on the Web following

GlobalNet Financial.com

's decision to unleash an Internet FX trading platform on Freeserve's Money Channel. Matchbook FX will enable independent foreign exchange traders, institutions, businesses and private investors to deal on live prices. UK private investors will be required to hand over a minimum deposit of £6000 and the minimum trade will be £12,000. Anyone who fancies a dabble can hedge their bets between the US dollar, sterling, yen, Swiss franc and the Euro.


has decided to close down its subscription-based financial ISP Infotrade at the end of September. The announcement follows an earlier announcement that the Japanese concern was closing MENET -- an ISP aimed at SMEs.

Net IPOs slump on first day trading
Wall St brutalises net shares
4 Aug 1999EarthWeb snaps up Sysopt and CodeGuru
Yahoo! wants Excite but @Home can stay at home
3 Aug, 1999Fire stops (game)play.com
Sportingbet.com (UK) PLC

, the Alderney-based e-bookmaker, is in the final stages of securing a contract to enter the lucrative Japanese gambling market. The OFEX-listed company said it was in final joint venture negotiations with a leading Japanese company enable the sportingbet.com to launch its services into the specialised Japanese market. The sports betting market in Japan is estimated to be more than £100 billion compared to the UK which nets around £7 billion. "If we were able to achieve a penetration of 0.5 per cent, this would translate into turnover of £500 million and gross profits of £30 million per year," said Mark Blandford, MD of sportingbet.com.

Media group


is doubling this year's Internet-related spending to £120 million - £30 million more than it had originally budgeted for. Pearsons already has more than 1200 Web sites already orbiting cyberspace, and it's hoping to cash in on the e-commerce revolution. Its flagship site, FT.com, is set to earn £6 million in advertising revenue this year, an increase of £4 million on last year. Pretty puny really, when you consider that this is the UK's biggest Web site, in advertising terms. Pearson's international business sites generate 40 million page views a month, of which FT.com accounts for 12 million.

UK domain name reseller


is raising £1.17 million through a placing of new shares on AIM. The highly acquisitive company lost £1.083 million on sales of £355,849 for the its maiden interims (covering the six months to April), 1999 but most of the losses come down to acquisition related goodwill write-downs and write-offs.

Home Internet take-up rockets in UK
2 Aug 1999Free-ISP boom brings Easynet rich pickings

AIM gets a new member in the shape of


. Described by the


as a vehicle for investing in small internet-related businesess, this is more of a Mini than a Merc. The float for the start-up will value the company at £1.14 million, while net proceeds will be only £730K. Is the stock market really an appropriate way of raising finance for such a small enterprise? Presumably, the investments are already lined up, because the money won't go too far. Netvest is chaired by Andrew Balcombe, founder of an Internet dating agency called Matchnet. Netvest is advised by Grant Thornton.

British online games portal


will be valued at £53.6 million when it begins trading on AIM today. The company originally wanted to raise

£21 million through the IPO

, but it is now scaling up for an extra £10 million, following "very strong demand for the shares".

1 Aug 1999

Online auctioneer


is moving to the London Stock Exchange and -- probably -- Germany's Neuer Market too, the

Mail on Sunday

reports. Shares in the British tiddler are currently dealt on Ofex, the UK's smallest stock market, where it is currently valued at £40 million. Not bad for a company that lost £1.13 million on sales of only £500,000. The company is advised by Durlacher.

31 July 1999Funmail

, the UK Internet-based email service, has postponed its AIM flotation, on selling 20 per cent of the company to Eden Investments for £6.25 million. This values Funmail at £31.3 million -- the top end of market cap projections -- according to the



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