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October 27, 1999

Tiscali Float Sinks Nuovo Mercato

By CBR Staff Writer

Italian new carrier Tiscali SpA, touted as the countryÆs first big internet stock, whipped Milan’s Nuovo Mercato into a frenzy on its first day of trading yesterday. After the new issue hit 90% price premium in the first hour of trading, the bourse stepped in to cool things down and temporarily suspended trading. The share price of 68.8 euros at 4pm GMT yesterday valued the firm at over 1bn euros ($1.05bn), making it the second largest net stock by market capitalization in Europe after the UKÆs Freeserve Plc.

Tiscali was the first company to bring FreeserveÆs model of subscription-free internet access onto the continent, and forced incumbent telco Telecom Italia SpA to go free with its own market-leading ISP. TiscaliFreeNet now has 500,000 users, and the company subsidizes the service by taking the majority of the per-minute dialup charge users pay to Telecom Italia.

Although the internet business has been played up, and is seen as the major growth area, Tiscali also has 200,000 long distance voice telephony users in its Rome, Milan and Sardinia markets. The firm also intends to apply for a cellular phone license next year, which may explain some of the investorsÆ excitement.

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