12 July 2000

For the second time in as many months, UK-based LetsBuyIt.com has postponed its intended IPO, rescheduled for today. The decision came following the eleventh hour pull-out yesterday of one of its four supporting banks, Sal Oppenheim Jr & Cie [WAMN, 11-Jul-00].

The UK-based, Netherlands-registered e-tailer had originally planned the flotation for June 7 but postponed due to adverse market conditions. According to the company, yesterday’s shock withdrawal will now delay the IPO via Frankfurt’s Neuer Markt “for about a week” while it lowers its offer price and extends its book-building process. "It's a tough market out there, there's no doubt," ruefully observed chief executive, Martin Coles. He optimistically added: "We know we have strong demand at the price we're talking about."

But analysts remained skeptical: "The European retail market, which had been really buoyant, appears to have vaporized, at least in the short term," said one analyst at Merrill Lynch, London. Chipped-in another skeptic at Nomura International: "If you can't do your IPO the second time around it's a bad sign. The market writes them off in many respects."

News source: Wall Street Journal