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A close inspection of Wednesday’s successful offerings shows selectivity is still paramount. Mumbai, India-based Rediff.com India Ltd., an Internet portal that targets the Indian community, placed 4.6 million American depositary shares on the Nasdaq at $12 apiece. The price hit the top of its estimated range, raising $55.2 million for the portal. The Goldman, Sachs & Co. (Hong Kong) offering closed up $7.31 to $19.31. Rediff didn’t skyrocket like last year’s dot-coms, given this market. But it performed as well as analysts had predicted. The other newcomer was Bloomington, Minn.-based August Technology Corp. with a $39.6 million offering of 3.3 million shares. Led by Needham & Co. Inc., shares of the 8-year-old August closed up $3.19 to $15.19. August manufactures and sells equipment to semiconductor manufacturers that enables them to spot tiny flaws in their chips without relying on microscopes. Does this mean that dot-coms are staging a comeback or that the IPO market in general is rebounding? “No,” said Corey Ostman, an analyst and president of Alert-IPO.com, a Torrance, Calif.-based division of Internet.com Corp. Rediff is “a special deal because it’s India. As long as deals are focused on certain sectors-like some international portals and semiconductors-they will stand up well in the current market.” Rediff benefited from expectations about India’s large, yet less Internet-savvy population. “Nobody has tapped the Indian market yet,” Ostman said. Rediff’s pre-IPO investors include News Corp. Ltd. of Sydney and Chase Capital Partners, a unit of Chase Manhattan Corp. in New York. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Rediff incurred net losses of $6.66 million for the fiscal year ending March 31-up sevenfold over the prior year. Its revenues, however, increased from $855,000 to $1.91 million. The company attributes its growing losses to sales and marketing expenses, which were $5.3 million. But it expects that proceeds from the IPO will be sufficient to meet its anticipated cash needs for at least 12 months. Rediff officials could not be reached for comment. August, meanwhile, may prove successful because of high demand for its products, Ostman said. “I think people understand that the increase in complexity of chips requires better inspection,” he said. August’s only outside pre-IPO investors are ESI Investment Co. of Minnetonka, Minn., and Brightstone Capital Ltd. of Edina, Minn., which together now own 17% of the company. Before the IPO, 11 insiders owned 79.2% of the company. August President Jeff O’Dell said he’s glad he didn’t rely more heavily on venture capital because, “You can probably run faster and harder” than if there are too many outsiders governing the company. �2000 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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