Remember how people used to laugh at the Amsterdam merchants who bid tulip bulbs so high that they were worth more than their weight in gold, until supply exceeded demand and the market crashed? Remember how people said that tulip bulbs and South Sea Bubbles couldn’t happen in today’s much better regulated and better informed […]
Remember how people used to laugh at the Amsterdam merchants who bid tulip bulbs so high that they were worth more than their weight in gold, until supply exceeded demand and the market crashed? Remember how people said that tulip bulbs and South Sea Bubbles couldn’t happen in today’s much better regulated and better informed markets? Meet the tulip bulbs of the 1990s -Internet-related stocks: as we report on page seven, Netscape Communications Corp wanted $11 to $14 a time for its offer of 3.5m shares, raised the target to $21 to $24 and the number of shares to 5m – the underwriters could have sold 100m! – and finally sold at $28, at which point the loss-making company was valued at $1,070m – 20 times annual sales; when trading started, they opened at – wait for it – $71, valuing the company at $2,713m – we’ve got some very nice tulip bulbs here if anyone would like to buy them…
Shares in UK business information group MAID Plc soared 86 pence to close at 168 pence yesterday after the company announced a strategic alliance with Microsoft Corp to provide business information services to the Microsoft Network: MAID will initially provide information for customers interested in buying business intelligence as well as support services for its clients.
Microsoft Corp shares were up $4.50 at $98 on the Justice Department’s decision to just keep on probing – so what is it that is going to cause a clearly absurdly overheated market to crack? Sell on a strike is the watchword in the oil and minerals exploration business, reflecting the fact that small gold and oil company shares tend to shoot up when word leaks out on promising geological or assay data, only to fall back when the company announces that it has indeed struck paydirt, and so there could be a big sell-off when or soon after Windows95 is launched on August 24.
Ingram Micro Inc says its worldwide sales for the second quarter were $1,854m, up from $1,291m in the second quarter of 1994: domestic US sales were up 40% and European sales were up 73%; Canadian sales rose 66% but sales in Mexico dropped 60% in US dollars due to continued effects of the peso devaluation and its economic conditions.
MCI Communications Corp has now completed the deal under which it invests an initial $1,000m of British Telecommunications Plc’s money in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Pty.
Oracle Corp signed a development and marketing agreement with Philips Electronics NV-controlled Grundig AG: the German will integrate Oracle New Media software with Grundig’s television set-top devices in the European interactive television market; the boxes run the Microware Software Inc David operating system but whether on 68000 family, PowerPC or iAPX-86, Grundig was not prepared to tell.
Following the restructuring of its applications group, Oracle Corp has given the line a complete makeover and will add graphical front ends to each module as well adding eight additional modules to the existing 31: the newly-named range, called SmartClient, cover financials, manufacturing and personnel and will now include Electronic Data Interchange gateways within Oracle EDI Gateway, Internet Commerce for Web access to Oracle applications, Applications Data Warehouse; Oracle Service; Oracle Quality; Oracle Sales & Marketing; Sales Compensation and Workflow modules; all modules will run on Windows, Mac OS and Motif clients; Oracle says the re-design was intended to minimise network bottlenecks by using stored procedures to access and process data rather than SQL statements; all the modules will be available for the first quarter of next year.
Chantilly, Virginia-based Government Technology Services Inc reports that its Air Force Desktop IV contract has been reopened for additional ordering with an allocation of 100,000 desktop computers worth $173.3m to Zenith Data Systems; a follow-on contract, Desktop V, has been released for proposal submissions from industry, due in September, Government Technology said.
Santa Cruz Operation Inc says OpenSe
rver runs fine on AS/400 FSIOP – the input-output processors with iAPX-86 parts on board – and is now working with IBM Corp to test driver support and on the marketing.
Shares in Benefon Oy rose sharply on the Helsinki stock exchange on renewed hopes it may soon announce details of plans to launch a Groupe Speciale Mobile digital cellular telephone: it has said it is developing a phone but given no details.
Computer-integrated manufacturing systems specialist Cimco Inc retained PaineWebber Inc as advisor after several unsolicited inquiries on possible sale of the company.
Tadpole Technology Plc now says it expects to make a loss of up to ú9.3m stg for the current year to September 30, and it will be doing a bit of kitchen sinking, taking an exceptional write-down provision of ú700,000 to bring its component inventory down to then-current market prices; the company says it has also successfully negotiated a new banking arrangement in the US which extends its loan facility to $6m from $2.5m, and it hopes to start posting a profit from the first half of the 1996 financial year; it wasn’t mentioned in the Reuters report, but the announcement was presumably prepared for the extraordinary general meeting that had to be called to review what action if any needed to be taken in face of net assets falling to under 50% of Tadpole’s paid-up share capital.
Point of sale systems specialist VeriFone Inc announced a global alliance with MasterCard International to promote electronic payments at the point of interaction: the effort is focusing on four point of interaction areas – debit, Smart Cards (including software development and pilot tests), electronic purse products and cardholder loyalty programmes, and the alliance is designed to enhance the ability of financial institutions and merchants to deploy electronic payment systems and raise cardholder acceptance at the point of information, while saving money, Verifone said.
Raytheon Co, Lexington, Massachusetts reports that its Electronic Systems division has won a $100m contract to build air traffic control equipment for the Royal Australian Air Force: the pact will also include options for long-term support of the systems, it said.
Further to the New York Times item on Microsoft Corp’s code names (CI No 2,719) – sorry Cleveland, giving a home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t make you cool, it simply means you’re a rather bleak town with a fine symphony orchestra and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Microsoft is naming the major upgrade for Windows95 Memphis, simply because that is where Elvis lived, but we’re not sure that the unidisputed capital of country music and home of the Grand Old Opry (do you know why Canadians are so wrapped up in country music? It’s because when people like Leonard Cohen were growing up, Canadian radio stations either closed down at night or weren’t worth listening to, and the only American stations that reached the frozen wastes were the country stations with their mighty Medium Wave transmitters) – Nashville is going to take too kindly to being tagged to the minor upgrade to Windows95 because Microsoft wanted a place near Memphis – place near Memphis indeed!