Apparently E*Trade Group Inc’s boast of its first successful handling of an online initial public offering (CI No 3,308), was mostly hot air. The IPO for Sportsline USA Inc – the result of a deal with BancAmerica Robertson Stephens to allow E*Trade customers access to offerings – was billed as a great success among online investors. The real story, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, is that only about 125 of E*Trade’s customers (it claims to have 225,000) were even eligible to buy the Sportsline IPO. To do so, they had to meet certain requirements imposed by E*Trade, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Association of Securities Dealers. And of the customers who wanted the shares, only about 70 actually got them, the paper reported. And besides all that, E*Trade only had access to 75,000 of the 3.5 million offered. All in all, not a major coup for the individual investor getting a piece of an IPO.
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