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The return of the Internet IPO – PayPal shares soar

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Shares of PayPal Inc took off following the company's initial public offering Friday, racking up a premium all the more impressive for PayPal being one of the first internet companies to make an IPO since the dot-com crash almost two years ago.

Nasdaq-quoted PYPL rose 60%, closing at $20.09. The company offered 5.4 million shares at $13 each, netting about $61m for the usual corporate purposes. Salomon Smith Barney managed the offering.

The feat was even more impressive given that PayPal is currently lying under the threat of a court injunction that could shut its entire service down.

CertCo Inc, a rival, is suing the firm for patent infringement, and PayPal is expecting a preliminary injunction motion to be filed. Such injunctions are rarely granted.

PayPal is a person-to-person and consumer-to-business online payment clearinghouse. Winning bidders in online auctions use the service to email payments to each other. The company charges fees to business users, and earns interest off its consumers' dormant funds.

While the firm is arguably the market leader for such services, it faces stiff competition from banks, credit card companies and e-commerce companies, many of which are trying to muscle in on its territory. It also operates in the regulatory minefield of international finance.

For a company with few noticeable large capital expenditures, the company managed to secure considerable wedges of cash in its pre-IPO funding rounds.

Despite the fact that the company isn't about building fabs, data centers, or laying cable, it still managed to win over $220m - an amount that dwarfs its losses to date by about $40m - in funding from various sources.

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