Lastminute: What the Papers Say
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Ian King, Business Editor, The Sun The value the market has put on lastminute.com is absolutely ridiculous. It is now worth more than the combined values of retailers Somerfield, Courts, and House of Fraser and Aston Villa. For a firm which, by its own admission, is unlikely to make a profit for "the forseeable future" and whose prospectus contains TEN pages of risk warnings, this is terrifying. The Sun is a big fan of technology and the Internet - subjects regularly covered on our City page. But the real winners in this sector will be firms with innovative technology or which provide a unique product or service and lastminute.com has none of these
The Daily Telegraph
Investors everywhere are trying to capture this extra wealth, and Lastminute may be on the main beneficiaries. Not at all of the 200,000 who rushed for the shares understand this, but neither do those dismiss the whole phenomenon as the madness of crowds. It is unlikely that Lastminute is the next Microsoft, but today's price may not be quite as daft as the experts claim.
Sir Alan Sugar, The Mirror
The future profit of some of these dot.com companies is a word that seems to get lost in the smoke and mirrors. But even if they do turn profitable you have to look at the actual potential of what they can earn. Lastminute.com is really a glorified travel agent charging a commission to travel companies, hotels, airlines, restaurants, theatres and all. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out if they book every single flight in and out of England for all of next year, the commission they would make would not generate profits worthy of the rating the stock market gave them yesterday.
In condemning the phenomenon as a bubble, we should also be careful not to pitch our supposed wisdom agains the combined judgement of millions of investors. Rightly, they have grasped that the new distribution channel of the internet will transform the way business is conducted and managed, allowing genuinely new global brands to be created in very short order: Lastminute.com is a good example of a company that has cleverly used its stock market flotation dramatically to increase consumer brand awareness and give itself a flying start on the road to riches.
Paula Hawkins, The Times
Rational folk might wonder how on earth a company with an annual turnover of less than £200,000 could be possibly worth half a billion pounds -- and decide against buying. ®
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