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Wednesday, 1 March, 2000, 14:45 GMT
Lastminute sets float price
lastminute.com founders Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox
lastminute.com has become a well known name
Lastminute.com, the UK internet site, is to be valued at up to 345m when it floats in London and New York.

That is lower than some City expectations of a valuation of about 400m.

The sale of shares is open to anyone who registers with the site, and is expected to be as oversubscribed as most recent high profile internet-related floats in the UK.

Lastminute plans to sell 33 million shares at a price which will be set between the range of 190p and 230p.

If the shares end up being priced at the top of that range, the company will be valued at 345m. At the mid-point the company would be valued at 316m ($500m).

User numbers rising

Individual investors must apply via the web site between Thursday 2 March and 10 March.

Lastminute, which launched in October 1998, sells flights, holidays, weekend breaks and other goods over the internet for impulse buyers who like to book at the 11th hour.

Founders Brent Hoberman, 31, and Martha Lane Fox, 27, have become the public face of internet start-ups in the UK during the past year.

The details of the share offering came as Lastminute outlined results for October to December, which showed turnover rising to 409,000 from 119,000 the quarter before.

It said registered subscribers had risen to 1.1 million in Europe as of 25 February - nearly twice the figure at the end of last year.

The flotation will be one of the UK's largest for a pure internet company.

Intel and Sony backers

Money raised will pay for advertising and technology to help it deliver its eleventh hour offers over mobile phones and interactive television as well as the internet.

Figures released on Tuesday showed Lastminute was the UK's most visited travel website in January, although Expedia.co.uk was the fastest growing.

MMXI Europe said that 310,000 Britons, or 4% of the active online population, had a look at Lastminute during the month.

Analysts do not expect it to make a profit until 2002 and so far only a small percentage of its registered users have bought from the company.

It has nevertheless attracted high-calibre investors such as Intel, France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom and Sony Music Entertainment. A recent fund raising brought in $41m.

The rapid recent rise in the number of subscribers has been helped by launches in France, Germany and Sweden.

Lastminute will also list on the technology-biased Nasdaq exchange in the US. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter is adviser and global co-ordinator of the issue.

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13 Jan 00 |  Business
BAA in Lastminute deal
13 Feb 00 |  Business
Hitting the internet share trail
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