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Lastminute jumps – but punters get next to no shares

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Lastminute shares jumped 40 per cent this morning in hectic first day trading, taking its market cap comfortably above the £1bn mark. But there is going to be an awful lot of disappointed would-be investors. In an effort to keep everyone happy (but sure to please no-one) Morgan Stanley Dean Witter has decided to dish out shares to all 200,000+plus people who applied for the IPO. Twenty per cent of the share offering -- around 6.6 million shares -- is reserved for the public, so that means around 35 shares each, worth less than £150 at the issue price. It is simply not worth the hassle to deal in such a puny amount -- dealing costs will take out a hefty chunk of any profit on the shares. The alternative -- a ballot for a meaningful number of shares was rejected by MSDW. However, the investment bank has headed off a potential PR disaster: Lastminute will repay with interest money received for shares not satisfied in the IPO. ®

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