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September 27, 1998

GERMAN FIRM OFFERS EUROPE’S FIRST NET SHARE SALES

By CBR Staff Writer

German start-up Webstock GmbH plans to start share trading over the internet next month, an initiative it reckons to be the first of its kind in Europe. The Munich-based outfit will start up on October 1, targeting small companies that are not currently listed. The idea is to offer them the platform for an initial public offering at a considerably lower cost than the conventional route via Frankfurt’s Neuer Markt or Nasdaq, by cutting out the commission issuers must pay to the co-ordinators of the bookbuilding process and the underwriters. Webstock will act as a service provider, not a brokerage, so that it will not be valuing the companies, leaving it up to the investors themselves to decide whether the shares on offer are a serious proposition. It will however, give advice to prospective buyers on how to value a company, and will expect those offering their shares to adhere to rules concerning such activities, along the lines of those governing entrants onto the Neuer Markt. Webstock plans to start out offering one new issue a month, updating the price of the shares three times a day.

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