Caldera IPO launch

Caldera IPO launch

Summary: Long-awaited Linux IPO expected to open on 13 March

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Hungry for another Linux IPO? Caldera Systems, one of the tastiest looking dishes on the Linux menu, will finally go public on Nasdaq on 13 March under the CALD symbol.

According to the company's SEC S-1/A amended initial registration statement, the stock's IPO price should be between $7 and $9 (£4 and £5) a share. Based on the history of previous Linux IPOs, that number could double days before the actual IPO.

The real question for would-be stock buyers will be: Will Caldera hold on to its anticipated initial stock price increase, just as Red Hat and Cobalt Networks have managed to do; or will it decline to a high, but far lower than opening-day price, as has been the case with Andover.Net and VA Linux?

Caldera plans to use its five million share IPO net proceeds of about $40.8m (£25.2m) to advance its technology, push forward partnerships, investigate buying other businesses with complementary technologies and expand the company. It is expected to push forward with offerings like its eServer operating system package, a Linux-based system designed specifically for e-commerce. Although Caldera only saw a year-over-year $15,000 (£9,300) increase in gross revenue for the quarter ending on 31 January 2000, sources close to the company claim that its e-commerce approach and strong reseller program are doing well.

Like the Linux companies before it, Caldera is offering stock options at IPO prices for "friends and family", or, in Caldera lingo, "friends and business associates". The offer letters, most of which were sent out on 29 February, also went out to Linux developers. It's Caldera plan that, unlike other similar IPOs, stock options will be made available to non-US citizens who are Linux developers. Unfortunately, the offer letters -- from Wit Capital, by way of Caldera -- to US developers, specifically state that the offer is only open to American citizens. This gives the impression that non-US Linux developers cannot get onboard with this IPO. In truth, however, selected Caldera international developers are receiving separate IPO offer notices from Bank of America.

Underwriting Caldera's IPO are Bear, First Security Van Kasper, FleetBoston Robertson Stephens, Soundview Technology Group and Stearns & Co.

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Topic: Tech Industry

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