QXL.com reveals floatation details

British Internet pioneer plans to raise funds through Nasdaq and LSE, add services to auction site.

British online auction site QXL.com said Monday it hopes to raise up to £70m through its planned dual flotation on London's Stock Exchange and New York's tech-oriented Nasdaq market.

The floatation, announced earlier this month, is one of an estimated 25 "dot com" offerings lined up in the next few months, following the lead of free Internet service provider Freeserve, which made a successful debut earlier this year.

Shares will be priced between 180p and 205p, for a potential value of up to £242m. With additional unsold assets, the company would be worth about £276m.

But the picture looks cloudy for tech offerings in the near future. Shares of Freeserve, a spin-off of electronics retail chain Dixons, and eXchange Holdings, both plummeted below their offering prices for the first time Monday. (See "Freeserve, eXchange shares tumble".) And QXL's planned offering price is far below market expectations.

Loss-making QXL reported earnings of £2.5m in the year to 31 March, with losses of £2.1m in the same period. Lack of profits is nothing unusual for an Internet company, but UK startups, unlike their US counterparts, lack sky-high share prices and plentiful venture capital to keep them afloat.

QXL representatives said funds generated by the floatation would be used to add services to the Web site.

More details to follow.

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