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IPO News: Acme Soars, Neuf Preps

Ray Le Maistre
10/13/2006
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Is it really that wise to IPO on Friday 13th? Ask the team at session border controller vendor Acme Packet Inc. (Nasdaq: APKT).

Having avoided walking under ladders and crossing the paths of black cats on the way to the office, they watched (no doubt clutching their white rabbit's feet) as Acme's stock joined Nasdaq and bounced up 57 percent in its first few hours of trading.

The vendor's starting price was $9.50, already a significant leap from earlier this week when the original price range was set at between $6.50 and $7.50. With 11.5 million shares, about 20 percent of the stock, being made available, the company raised $109 million, giving it a valuation of about $545 million.

But with Acme's net income in the first half of 2006 running at 30 percent of revenues, and with sales growing steadily, investors piled into the stock this morning and sent it soaring by $5.50, a whopping 58 percent, to $15.00. (See Acme Profits as Newport Shrinks.)

The company first announced its intention to IPO at the beginning of June, just weeks after VOIP service provider Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) made its disastrous entry onto the New York exchange. (See Acme Packet Lines Up IPO and Vonage Falls Hard & Fast in Public Debut.)

On the cultured side of the Atlantic, French service provider Neuf Cegetel Group (Euronext: NEUF) has revealed details of its impending listing on the Euronext exchange in Paris.

Neuf is going public in part to raise money for its acquisition of AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL)'s French broadband business. (See Neuf Cegetel Heads for IPO and Neuf Cegetel Buys AOL France.)

The price range for its shares is set to be between €19 and €22.08, which, at a price mid-way between those limits, would raise about €760 million ($951 million) and value the operator at about €4.2 billion ($5.26 billion).

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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