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Netscape IPO draws lots of laughs

Published on .

Netscape IPO draws lots of laughs

Netscape Communications Corp.'s stock offering last week drew interest from both experts and the amateurs, and it turns out many of the latter called Netscape with questions. An internal memo making the rounds at the hot Internet software company contains an amazing collection of odd questions, silly queries and strange visitors. "A lot of the people that called were Netscape users who weren't necessarily the typical stock market people, and a lot of the others were stock market people who weren't technically savvy," a spokeswoman said. We assume Netscape's true investors are a bit more in-the-know than the people described in the memo below:

Greetings Netscapers,

As you all know, PR, Finance and the front desk have received thousands of calls from the public since announcing our IPO on June 23. PR thought it might be fun to compile the "DUMB, DUMB, AND DUMBER" list for your reading enjoyment. Have fun reading these TRUE stories. Believe it or not, these really are all true.

Caller: Do you know what the ticker symbol will be yet?
Finance: At this point I believe it will be "N" as in Netscape, "S" as in Sam, "C" as in Charlie, "P" as in Paul. "N-S-C-P".
Caller: That was "N" as in WHAT???

Caller: How can I get on this "Friends of Netscape" stock list?
Finance: Do you have any connection to Netscape?
Caller: I just heard about the information superhighway. I was told
Netscape was a user-friendly browser, so I want to be on the "Friends of Netscape" stock list.

Another "savvy investor" calls in:

Caller: Can I talk to the Chief Financial Officer?
Finance: I'm sorry, but he's traveling until at least August 9. Is there something I can help you with?
Caller: Well, I heard your company was going public and I was wondering if you could tell me what that means.
Finance: Well, that essentially means that our company will be trading a certain number of shares of our stock on the stock market, which will raise capital so that we can expand our business.
Caller: What's the stock market?
Mr. Sophisticated?

Caller: I'm a very "sophisticated" investor who has a very substantial amount of money to invest in Netscape stock and I want to talk to someone to find out how I can get it cheap.
Finance: Have you spoken yet to our underwriters?
Caller: What's an underwriter?
Finance: Well, basically Netscape sells the shares of stock to an underwriter, in this case it's Morgan Stanley and also Hambrecht & Quist (interruption...)
Caller: Was that Hamburger Kissed?
Finance: No, H-A-M-B-R-E-C-H-T & Q-U-I-S-T
Caller: Now what are you calling them?
Finance: The underwriter. So we sell the shares to Morgan Stanley and they sell the shares to the public.
Caller: Could I talk to Mr. Stanley please?

The "bean counter" call:

Finance: Peter Currie's office. Can I help you?
Caller: Is he a bean counter?
Finance: Peter Currie is our CFO. Is there something I can help you with?
Caller: What does that stand for?
Finance: CFO stands for Chief Financial Officer. Is there something I can help you with?
Caller: So I wasn't sure how this browser thing worked. Can he explain it to me?

Good reason to call the CFO:

Netscape: Peter Currie's office. Can I help you.
Caller: Is he there?
Netscape: No, I'm sorry he's traveling until at least August 9.
Caller: I heard you guys were going public.
Netscape: Yes, we've filed with the SEC and expect trading could begin as early as next week but we don't have a definite date yet.
Caller: Trading what?
Netscape: Netscape stock.
Caller: Oh, is that what this is all about. I heard someone talking in line at the grocery store about Netscape going public and was wondering what that was all about.

A Caller was upset because he felt it was "insider trading" because he couldn't get shares at the IPO price and was going to turn us into the San Jose Police.

PR: Are you calling in today regarding our IPO?
Caller: What's an IPO?

PR: How did you hear about our company?
Caller: My friend has been telling me all about this "highway information thing" for the past month.
PR: Do you use our product?
Caller: No! I hate computers but I like to put all my investments in computer companies.

Caller: (Excited) Did you get your own personal copy of the prospectus?
PR: Not yet, why?
Caller: It's going to become a collectors item and I need to get multiple copies so I can hold on to them.
PR: Are you planning to purchase our stock?
Caller: No. I just want copies of the prospectus.

Caller: I heard your company is planning to go public but I can't find your stock ticker symbol listed anywhere on Nasdaq or in the newspapers.
PR: That's because we're not a public company sir.
Caller: Oh.

Caller: How can I get a prospectus?
PR: You will have to contact our underwriter Hambrecht and Quist.
Caller: What's his name?

Caller: How old are you?
PR: Old enough.
Caller: Are you married?
PR: No comment!

Caller: (after a long discussion) I don't know why I am telling you my whole life story.
PR: I don't know why either.

Caller: Do you have stock options?
PR: No comment.
Caller: Well, I'm only looking out for your best interest.

An Older man in a tennis outfit came into the lobby requesting literature.

PR: Can I help you sir?
Visitor: (Excited) I'm going to be a SHAREHOLDER!!
PR: Fantastic.
Visitor: I'm here to get some information and take some pictures.
PR: Pictures of what?
Visitor: The building, people. I've already taken some pictures outside. (In his hand he was holding a yellow throwaway Kodak camera.)

Caller: Can I get some shares? I met Marc at a conference. Is there a "friends of the company" list I can get on?

Caller: Can you tell me what the price of the stock will be the minute it hits the open market?

Caller: Will you be selling stock in your online store?

Caller: Please call me back when you know the date of the IPO.

Caller: Are you excited about going public?

Caller: Is everyone who works there under 30 years old?

Caller: What's the ratio of males versus females at Netscape?

Caller: If I had $25,000, how much Netscape would that get me?

Caller: Am I calling into "shareholder" services?

Caller: Will the ticker symbol of your company be on my brokers computer screen? PR: I assume so. I think you need to ask your broker that question.

Caller: Do you have a home page with a picture on it?

Caller: I need to ask you something personal. Tell me how many stock options you have.

Caller: I'm sending a letter to the SEC because I can't get any shares. I've been using Netscape from the beginning and I deserve them.

Caller: I went to the same University as Marc. Do you think Marc can get me some stock?

Caller: (very demanding) I am a stockholder and please send me a prospectus right away.

Caller: PLEASE let me in on the IPO. I'm trying to get some shares for charity.

LOBBY: A lady on rollerblades with a helmet came into the lobby and stopped at reception. Reason: She wanted to buy a NETSCAPE T-shirt.

LOBBY: Last week an elderly gentleman walked into the lobby. He said he just wanted to check out the lobby and see what NETSCAPE looked like!

LOBBY: Many vacationing foreign visitors from Japan and Europe stopped into the lobby wanting to buy T-shirts and souvenirs. One asked, "Where can I purchase NETSCAPE articles?"

LOBBY: A person by the name "Phil" called asking how the "mood is at Netscape." Probably a newspaper reporter trying to get a scoop.

LOBBY: Many strange people came into the lobby asking for information. Many requested copies of the prospectus and then asked about employment opportunities.

Caller: Can I get a copy of your prospectus?
PR: Sure, send a fax to Morgan Stanley at 212-.......
Caller: Oh, send a fax.
PR: Yes, send a fax. They will mail you a copy.
Caller: Can you please tell me the date you are going public??
PR: You're kidding, right?
Caller: Ummmm. No.
PR: Well sir, it was TODAY. TODAY, Sir. It happened this morning.
Caller: Oh.

Caller: The 411 information service in your area told me you must be one hell of a hot company.

PR: Do you use Netscape Navigator?
Caller: Not yet, but I'm planning to. I live up in Alaska and given that we have a lot of snow here your product is very interesting to me.

An 84-year-old woman named Muriel called into PR and said she wanted to purchase $3,000 worth of stock directly from Netscape. Apparently, she's been following Netscape for six months and has been clipping all kinds of articles relating to the company. She asked to speak with Marc personally and wanted his home telephone number so she could ask him a few questions about the stock. She also wanted competitive information on Spyglass and Microsoft and requested "additional reading material." Since she couldn't get any shares directly from us we sent her out a Mozilla T-Shirt and a press kit.

Netscape Finance got a call the morning after the IPO. An investor wanted to know when the dividend checks were being mailed out.

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