E-Commerce Vendors Proceed With IPOs



Persistence Software, a maker of servers for E-commerce, made its Wall Street debut today, closing ahead of its offering price. The San Mateo, Calif., company, which makes transactional application servers -- software that processes transactions between users and back-end computer systems for electronic commerce systems, closed at 13 13/16 on volume of 4.4 million shares, up from its offering price of $11.

While Persistence has sold its products to big names such as AT&T, Boeing, Cisco, FedEx, IBM, Lucent, and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, it's still a small player. It had operating losses of $4 million on sales of $10.2 million in 1998.

Another E-commerce vendor, Agile Software, based in San Jose, Calif., is planning a public offering. The company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week to sell up to $59 million in stock through Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown. Agile hasn't yet determined how many shares it will sell.

Agile's products are designed to improve supply-chain members' ability to communicate and collaborate with one another about new or changing product content. Its software is especially useful for companies that have outsourced their manufacturing or that manage multisite engineering, manufacturing, sales, and distribution operations. Since June 1996, when Agile shipped its first product, the company has licensed its software to about 300 customers, mostly in the electronics and medical devices markets.

Agile said in its registration statement filed with the SEC that the company "will need to generate significant increases in revenues to achieve and maintain profitability." In fact, it had operating losses of $11.6 million on revenue of $16.8 million in the fiscal year ended April 30, 1999.

Both Agile and Persistence say proceeds from the stock sales will be used for working capital and to fund expansion.

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