Cyber Agent IPO Quiet as Net Sell-off Continues

TOKYO (03/24/2000) - Japanese investors gave e-mail and web advertising agency Cyber Agent Ltd. a lukewarm reception today while continuing to sell down the stock of other prominent Internet companies.

Cyber Agent debuted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's Mothers market, a new market established for young start-ups and high-tech companies, at 15 million yen (US$140,000) this morning, but ended the day up just slightly at 15.2 million yen despite rising as high as 16.79 million yen during the day.

The debut, which saw the stock end the day just 1.3 percent higher, is in marked contrast to those of Liquid Audio Japan Inc. and Internet Research Institute Inc. which jumped 100 percent and 76.9 percent respectively when they began trading late last year as the first companies on Mothers. [See "Tokyo Stock Market for Start-ups Opens With a Bang," Dec. 22, 1999].

Today those companies are still trading above their IPO prices but are well off their highs.

Internet Research Institute listed at 11.7 million yen and closed on its first day at 20.7 million yen. In the weeks following it traded as high as 75 million yen but is today trading around 30 million yen. Liquid Audio Japan, which listed at 3 million yen, ended its first day of trading at 6 million yen and reached more than 12 million yen earlier this year. Today the stock closed 4 million yen, off 1 million yen on the day.

The sell off in Internet stocks isn't restricted to new issues.

Internet investment company Softbank Corp., which traded as high as 19 million yen one month ago, closed today down 16 percent at 8.7 million yen. Hikari Tsushin Inc., a telephone subscriptions agent turned Internet investor, lost 6 percent on the day to close at 78,800 yen after hitting a high of over 230,000 yen just over a month ago and Yahoo Japan has dropped from its 165 million yen high of a few weeks ago to just over 134 million yen today.

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