Reston's ComScore Hopes To Raise $71 Million in IPO

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By Xiyun Yang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

ComScore, a Reston firm that collects data on Internet consumer behavior, expects to raise as much as $71.4 million from an initial public offering of 5 million shares, the company said yesterday in a government filing.

The company set a price range of $14 to $16 a share but did not set a date for the IPO. At $15 a share, the company would be worth more than $410 million; it would raise $66.8 million after underwriting fees.

Incorporated in 1999, ComScore has recruited more than 2 million Internet users worldwide to install its software on their computers to track their surfing habits. The company uses that data to measure Web traffic and shopping habits, selling the information mostly by subscription to such clients as Microsoft, its biggest customer. Seventy-seven percent of its revenue in the first quarter of 2007 was generated from subscription-based contracts, the company said in a preliminary filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

ComScore said its 2006 revenue topped $66.3 million, with cash flow from operations of $10.9 million.

The company lists among its principle competitors Nielsen Media Research, which has expanded from its traditional television and radio rating services into Internet analysis; and DoubleClick, the online ad company that Google recently announced it would buy.

The IPO comes after ComScore turned profitable in 2006, when it earned $5.7 million, compared with a $4.4 million loss in 2005. The company carried $98.6 million of debt as of March 31.

According to SEC filings, ComScore plans to use the proceeds from the IPO for working capital, capital expenditures, corporate expenses and acquisitions. It also plans to expand its international operations. International sales account for $5.7 million, or 9 percent of total revenues.

The company will have about 27.4 million shares of common stock after the IPO. It could raise additional funds if its underwriters including Credit Suisse exercise an option to buy 750,000 shares.

Some analysts sounded cautious about the company's prospects.

"The marketing-intelligence platform is somewhat of a jagged edge for many investors. This is an unproven area, and it's not an easy sale," said David Menlow, president of IPOFinancial.com, a Web site that tracks initial public offerings.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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