Stock Watch: AltaVista Files For IPO

The stage is set for what looks to be one of next year’s biggest Internet initial public offerings. On Friday, destination site AltaVista filed for an IPO to raise as much as $300 million. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter leads a strong underwriting team that also includes Hambrecht & Quist, Robertson Stephens, Prudential Volpe Technology and Wit Capital.

Internet holding company CMGI (Nasdaq: CMGI) owns about 82 percent of AltaVista, which reaches approximately 45 million unique users each month. CMGI also has a stake in financial site Raging Bull, which was recently acquired by AltaVista. This IPO should be a big victory for CMGI, and one decent way to play the offering might simply be to invest in CMGI.

CMGI is also actively exploring other possibilities with its holdings. On Friday, CMGI chairman and CEO David Wetherell said the company is looking at the possibility of taking its @Ventures investment affiliate public.

Shares of CMGI were up 6-1/2 to 218-5/16 in early trading today.

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