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City squabbles over £1bn Lastminute price tag

Grey market share price blows value sky high - and some

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Spread betting companies in the City are reported to be squabbling over Lastminute.com's likely flotation price. IG Index was quoting a "grey market" price between 350p and 360p for the online retailer's IPO, according to the Financial Times. This towered above Lastminute's own estimated share price of 190p to 230p - which would value the company at £316 million. Higher still were the opening price predictions from Financial Spreads, which was quoting 495p to 505p. Financial Spread's price would give Lastminute a market capitalisation of over £1 billion on its imminent float. "We are opening Lastminute.com with the biggest percentage premium we have ever quoted on a grey market," said IG's Paul Austin. All these ponderings from City suits is no doubt bolstering spirits and purses at Lastminute's London office. It has revealed the two co-founders of the Internet goldmine, Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox, are getting hefty payrises to bring them in line with the cyber age. Hoberman's salary is set to rise from £55,000 to £150,000, while Fast Lane Foxy's modest £45,000 will jump to £120,000. Lane Fox's shareholding in Lastminute is worth at least £23 million on the £316 million valuation. The company has also revealed its sales figures for the last quarter of 1999 - revenues reached £409,000, compared to £119,000 for the same period in 1998. ® Related stories: Float announced for lastminute.com How meaningful are Lastminute.com registration numbers? The wit and wisdom of Martha Lane Fox

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