From Friday's SF Chronicle.
Although it appeared dead in the water, the much-anticipated initial
offering of CBS MarketWatch is back on track. The financial news Web site could file to go public as early as mid-August, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Considering the sky-high valuations placed on other Internet- related
offerings this summer, such as Broadcast.com and Inktomi, institutional
investors began to wonder what was keeping CBS MarketWatch from taking advantage of overly ripe market conditions for Net IPOs. CBS MarketWatch chief executive Larry Kramer would not comment on the company's financing plans.
As it turns out, part of the delay is being blamed on legal and accounting complications stemming from the company's status as a 50/50 joint-venture. CBS MarketWatch was formed in October 1997 by its two parents: Data Broadcast Corp. of Jackson Hole, Wyo., and CBS, a unit of New York-based Westinghouse.
The co-lead investment bankers on the proposed deal, BT Alex. Brown and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, had advised the company to seek ''outside evaluations on the (financial) contributions of the two (parent) companies'' to avoid any pitfalls with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a source. Another deal-structuring snag was the fact that CBS MarketWatch is a limited-liability corporation, or LLC -- a status that carries federal tax implications similar to a limited partnership. To change that, the financial news company will convert to a standard public corporation at the time of an offering. CBS MarketWatch, which has 55 employees in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco, provides financial news and stock quotes to
individual investors. According to the company, the number of visitors to its Web site has more than doubled to 1.7 million by the end of last month. One cyber-publisher that is sure to keep its eye on a CBS MarketWatch IPO is rival TheStreet.com. The New York-based financial news site (the current employer of the previous occupant of this column slot) is starting to do some spadework for a possible offering of its own. What's more, the two companies have informally explored the notion of some sort of combination. But a marriage between the two seems less likely now that CBS MarketWatch is teeing up its IPO.