Martha, WWF, Satyam gain
IPOs for Stewart's Omnimedia, World Wrestling Federation, Indian ISP soar
NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Food and home guru Martha Stewart's eagerly awaited initial public offering beat out the World Wrestling Federation pack, but Indian Internet service provider Satyam Infoway Ltd. proved the quiet winner in the aftermarket Tuesday.
Not that second and third place didn't pay off handsomely for Stewart and World Wrestling Federation heads Vince and Linda McMahon, who, on paper anyway, ended the day as billionaires.
Nevertheless, in terms of the stocks' percent gains, the winner by a nose according to Reuters was Satyam Infoway (SIFY).
The buzz surrounding India's second largest ISP did not mirror that of WWF or Martha Stewart, but enthusiasm about getting in early in the Internet age abroad put the Internet service provider in the lead for percent gains -- albeit by a hair.
Satyam closed up 17-1/2, or 97.2 percent, to 35-1/2 on the Nasdaq after its $18 ADR, or American depositary receipt, offering.
"Longer term it's important to see who is backing the company and what their strategy is beyond being an ISP. Satyam has a strategy because it has a private data backbone (which enables network services) and it has a good parent," said Eric Ritter, portfolio manager of Driehaus Mutual Fund's Asia Pacific Growth Fund.
Satyam, a unit of Satyam Computers Services Ltd., raised $75.2 million through its ADR offering.
Stewart: billionaire homemaker
But the competition didn't spoil what turned out to be a lovely party for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in its first day of trading.
Shares in the company started by Stewart, the doyenne of domestic-living-as-art, took off Tuesday in morning trading, nearly tripling to 52 before easing to close up nearly 97 percent at 35-7/16 from an initial public offering price of 18.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO) -- the umbrella company for a number of name-brand ventures such as the monthly magazine Martha Stewart Living, the radio show "askMartha" and a cable-TV program called "From Martha's Kitchen" -- raised $129.6 million through its offering of 7.2 million shares.
The IPO represented 14 percent of total outstanding shares.
Stewart owns 34.1 million shares, which based on Tuesday's closing price puts her stake at roughly $1.2 billion. She will control 96 percent of voting shares in the company.
Analysts had expected strong institutional interest for the IPO, but they noted the dangers of a company whose valuations are so dependent on one person.
On CNNfn Tuesday morning, however, Stewart tried to lay to rest concern that Omnimedia's success is too dependent on her presence. The vision for the company, she said, has been transformed into a strong brand, and she added that the company is branching out into various projects that draw on the company's vision but are not reliant on her as host.
And should there be an economic downturn, Stewart said she is confident the business will continue to prosper. The company's products "are fairly priced
and all those ideas
you're going to have to know how to do (things) yourself since you won't be hiring anyone to do this for you," she said.
Headbangers hit Wall Street
The IPO for World Wrestling Federation Entertainment also grabbed hold of Wall Street Tuesday -- and shook out the change. Shares more than doubled to a high of 35 after being priced at 17 on Monday.
But by day's end, the stock had eased to 25-1/4, which still represents a gain of roughly 49 percent.
And that means big money for the company's chairman Vince McMahon and its president and CEO Linda McMahon, who together own 56.7 million shares that are now worth about $1.4 billion.
Vince McMahon has 97.3 percent of voting power.
The 10-million share offering, which represents a 17 percent stake in the firm, was handled by Bear Stearns & Co. Inc., Credit Suisse First Boston, Merrill Lynch & Co. and Wit Capital Corp.
World Wrestling Federation Entertainment (WWFE) holds about 200 live events each year, and its nine hours of original television programming each week are among the most widely watched shows on cable television.
-- from staff and wire reports