eCommerce and content developments in brief

by: David Jackson

  • BofI Holding, the holding company for Bank of Internet USA, is planning an auction-style IPO with underwriter WR Hambrecht and Co. The company has filed to sell 2.25 million shares at a range of $9-13. BofI has doubled its total assets over the last two years, and net income rose by 18% in 2004. BofI's IPO will allow investors to better evaluate the performance of Netbank (ticker: NTBK), currently the only publicly-traded pure play Internet bank.
  • Bill Bishop, co-founder of CBS Marketwatch, claims that key people are abandoning MarketWatch after its purchase by Dow Jones (ticker: DJ). "Dow Jones runs the risk of running the place into the ground", he says, although "at least they have so far left the editorial group fairly intact". Some attrition is normal after an acquision, as long as it doesn't get out of hand. Bill also attacks Dow Jones for overpaying its management during a period of sub-par stock performance.
  • Macromedia issued a press release announcing that Amazon has chosen Macromedia Flash video as its format for the Amazon Theater Short Film Competition. "Because Flash video is viewable through Macromedia Flash Player, the most widely deployed player on the Internet, users can easily and instantly watch video content regardless of their connection speed, platform, or browser and without having to download a large media player." Macromedia recently partnered with Akamai to offer an on-demand (hosted) solution for Flash Video. Forbes quoted a Piper Jaffray note that said that "strong spending on Internet advertising will continue to lead to outperformance in Macromedia's designer/developer segment".
  • Yahoo acquired privately-held Stadeon, which provides technology that allows multi-player games to be played on different platforms. As Google moves to compete with Yahoo! in web email, maps, groups and movie info, Yahoo! is turning more and more to content.
  • Online apparel retailer Bluefly (ticker: BFLY) said that February sales rose by 12% year over year to $4.1 million. That's an improvement over Bluefly's lousy Q4 results.