Shares of Musicmaker.com, the Reston company that sells music over the Internet, surged from $14 a share to $23.93 3/4 yesterday in their first day of trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The 71 percent jump did not match the first-day performance of the hottest recent Internet IPOs--which have doubled and tripled--but it was a huge payoff for Musicmaker.com, its big shareholders and Ferris Baker Watts, the company's investment banking firm.
The IPO raised about $67 million in capital that Musicmaker.com Chairman Robert Bernardi said will be used for a major marketing campaign to promote the company's system for selling custom CDs via the Internet.
It also produced an instant profit for EMI, the big British record company that acquired a 50 percent stake in Musicmaker.com only a month ago. In yesterday's offering, EMI sold about 3 million of its shares for $43.4 million. It still owns more than 12 million shares, worth $288 million at yesterday's closing price.
EMI got its stake in the company by giving Musicmaker.com the Internet sales rights to its vast library of popular and classical music. The swap transformed Musicmaker.com from a struggling start-up into an early favorite in the race to sell music online and radically increased the market valuation of the company.
At yesterday's closing price, the value of the just more than 30 million shares of Musicmaker.com stock outstanding totaled $724 million. That is more than 10 times what Musicmaker.com would have been worth under the IPO the company first proposed in February.
At that time, Musicmaker.com wanted to sell about 3 million shares for $9 apiece. The company would have had roughly 7 million shares outstanding after the offering, producing a total value of more than $60 million.
But after signing on EMI as a partner last month, Musicmaker.com was able to increase the total number of shares to 30 million, boost the IPO to 8.4 million shares and raise the asking price to $14 a share.
The offering, which raised $117.6 million including expenses, was the biggest technology IPO ever for Ferris Baker Watts, the Washington and Baltimore firm that traditionally has raised capital only for smaller companies in the mid-Atlantic region.
Steven Shea, Ferris's director of capital markets, said the big Wall Street investment firms weren't interested in Musicmaker.com before it formed the partnership with EMI, but they flocked to Reston once that agreement was announced.
He said Ferris was able to maintain its role as the lead investment banker because it had prepared Musicmaker.com's original offering and could complete the offering simply by filing amendments. A new investment banking firm would have had to start from scratch, which would have delayed the offering for several weeks.
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