Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/07/21/letssellit_com_oh_dear_oh/

Letssellit.com. Oh dear, oh dear

You know when some things are just inevitable?

By Kieren McCarthy

Posted in Media, 21st July 2000 13:50 GMT

It would have been nice to have been proved wrong but sadly Letsbuyit.com's eventual float has been just as poor as everyone suspected.

It seemed like suicide to go for a float when it's already been abandoned twice and the company valuation slashed but then when you're haemorrhaging money and the cash pot is very nearly empty, what else can you do?

So what happened? Well, have a look at the German stock exchange and the graph tells it all. Launched at 5 (presumably deutschemarks but then this equates to E2.55 and the company said it would launch at E3.5. Hmmm) the stock shot up to 6.45. Of course then everyone sold and back down to 5.5. Hang on, this is a good price said the suited lemmings in the Neuer Markt. Up again to 6.2. Back down lower to 5.4.

Hang on, this is a good price said the suited lemmings in the Neuer Markt. But fewer lemmings this time. A little rise and then suddenly all the execs who had been flicking through their copy of Letsbuyit's float manifesto came to. "Gotterdammerung! Zis business model is unsustainable and stupid. Run away! Run away!"

And so she fell. Down she goes all the way to a bottom of 4.7. Since then it's started hovering around the initial asking price. And all in three hours. Still, this is evidence that for the first time Letsbuyit has valued something correctly. Bless.

Update

we have had several readers complaining that the German market quotes in euros, hence the launch price was E5. We remain confused as to how Letsbuyit shifted its start price to E5 when only yesterday it said it would launch at E3.5. Not a wise move for a company with previous IPO horrors. We weren't helped either by the stock market's inability to say for definite what currency it was quoting in. As for the share price, it has fallen again to E4.6.

Incidentally, Letsbuyit.com's PR agency Gnash took exception to our flippant treatment of the co-op yesterday. An email today read as follows:

"If you have a quick sec, I hope you won't mind me attempting to set the record straight on some of the points you made in your posting re my client LetsBuyIt.com.

"The first is to do with their floatation. You say abandoned twice - the fact is the IPO was postponed once back in May and went ahead today after a successful closure of book. The delay last week was to satisfy rules of the German Bourse. It had nothing to do with LetsBuyIt.com losing the faith.

"The second point you make is about investors leaving. Absolutely untrue. In fact, none of their investors have left; all proceeds from the offer will benefit the company (current shareholders are not taking cash out).

"Finally, you say appalling PR stunts. This one of course is subjective. But as their PR agency, I take issue. The one PR stunt organised for LetsBuyIt.com (Chelsea Flower Show) may have appalled you but here are the facts. The coverage achieved through photos in national and regional media introduced the brand and the co-buy concept to a potential audience of more than 6m people. Maybe it wasn't your cup of tea, but it did the job."

In reply, we'd like to steal a line from by Jason Robards as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee in the film All The President's Men. Under pressure to refute his reporters' Watergate story, he simply wrote down "We stand by our story".

Not that the float of a naff Internet company and an email from its equally naff PR company equates to national scandal but we've always wanted to use the line. ®

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