Lasseters not ready to gamble on ASX yet

Online casino operator Lasseters has extended its IPO for the second time. The gambling organisation, which is hoping to raise $40 million, was expected to close its share offer yesterday, following a three-week extension from its original closure date of April 19 amid the stock market frenzy.

Peter Bridge, Lasseters' managing director, said at the time the offer was extended to allow investors to "view the offer in light of a more stable market". The reasons for the second extension are unknown. Bridge was unavailable for comment, but more details on the company's plans will be released today, a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, despite predictions that many internet companies will opt out of public floats in favour of venture capital funding, two other online companies moved closer to the share trading room yesterday.

Barton Capital Holdings subsidiary eStar Online Trading said it intends to float on the Australian Stock Exchange later this year while online education provider Worldschool announced it will list this Wednesday.eStar CEO Albert Wong said the recent market movements had not discouraged the company from pursuing a public float later this year. "Whether the sharemarket is going up or down, the trend for shares to be traded online will continue to increase," he said.

"eStar is the preferred alternative system for independent traders that offers all the key benefits that professional traders enjoy in an online trading system."eStar plans to raise $10 million from the IPO, increasing the company's market capitalisation to $40 million, a spokesperson for the company said. The funds will be used to expand eStar into other financial institutions to enable them to offer their own online trading service in Australia, New Zealand and Asian countries, according to the spokesperson.

Further details of the planned IPO will be detailed in the company prospectus which is yet to be released.

Worldschool, which unlike Lasseters successfully closed its IPO on April 19 despite the stock market downturn that week, remains confident its Wednesday listing will be a success.

The company closed oversubscribed and raised $25.5 million from Australian and international investors.

"While the climate for new listings may have changed in the last few weeks, our business model and the market for our product has not. We are confident that Worldschool will become an education portal without peer, both in Australia and internationally," said chief executive officer Ashley Owen.

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