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Tuesday, September 21, 1999 Published at 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK


Business: The Company File

QXL confirms flotation

Internet auction house has grown fast since its launch two years ago

The UK's latest Internet flotation came a step closer today as the online auction company, QXL, confirmed its plans to raise almost £70m with a listing in London and New York.

The company set the price range for its share issue at between 180p and 205p a share, valuing undiluted share capital of the group at between £212m ($340m) and £242m ($390m).

Including share options already in place, the group will be valued at up to £276m ($442m).

The figure is well below speculative figures produced by some analysts, based on previous Internet flotations.

The company plans to float 25% of its shares on the London Stock Exchange and America's Nasdaq technology-oriented market.

QXL is an online community of consumers and businesses who buy and sell products and services by auction. It was founded in 1997 as "Quixell" by a former journalist, Tim Jackson, and changed its name as it expanded into Europe.

Open 24/7

This is what the company says about itself on its website: "At QXL you can bid at auctions hosted by QXL, our merchant partners and our thousands of QXL members.

"We're open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so if you have access to the Web, you can bid, browse or sell whenever you like. And you can use QXL to hold an online 'boot sale' of your own, with a worldwide audience!"

The group had revenues of £2.5m in the year to 31 March but, like many Internet businesses, it has yet to return a profit. It reported operating losses of £2.1m for the period.

Jim Rose, QXL's chief executive, said: "Our websites are part of a significant and rapidly growing interactive medium which allows millions of people all over the world to share information, communicate, be entertained and conduct business."

Mr Rose said the cash raised from the flotation would go towards adding services to QXL.

As the QXL prospectus was published, Freeserve, the UK's biggest Internet flotation to date, proved the potential volatility of Internet stocks when its share price fell to a new low of 135p.

Investors considering buying into QXL must register their interest by 26 September and the offer closes on 5 October. The minimum application value is £500.





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