Seattle Web Stock Soars On First Day -- Internap Does Better Than Recent Ipos

Hinting that the stock market prefers companies that help build the Internet to those that simply use it, the stock of Seattle's InterNap Network Services nearly tripled in its trading debut today.

The Seattle company, which offers fast connections to the Internet, went public at a price of $20. Just a few minutes into trading on Nasdaq, the stock shot up to $73. InterNap, which trades under the symbol INAP, closed today at $52.969, up $32.969.

"The market is liking to play companies that make the Internet work," said Bill Whitlow, who manages Safeco's Northwest Fund and bought shares of the initial public offering (IPO). "It's a foregone conclusion that growth in the Internet is going to be exploding."

Whitlow said that while it was hard to predict which of today's Internet companies would exist tomorrow, those that provide new Internet backbone were more likely to thrive.

InterNap, by routing data through private network access points, or NAPs, speeds up Internet data transfers. The key to the company's success is the willingness of big businesses to pay a premium for faster and more reliable Internet connections.

The company's stock surged even though it had raised the price and number of shares in its offering. It sold 9.5 million shares at $20 a share, raising $190 million. InterNap earlier had planned to sell 8.7 million shares at a price between $17 and $19; even that price range was higher than the original target of $13 to $15 a share.

InterNap's gain today was much stronger than the performance of the recent IPOs of other local companies. Bellevue-based, an online provider of commercial printing services, saw its stock nearly double when it went public in August. But had lowered its offering price and the number of shares it offered from its original targets.

And in the previous three IPOs by Seattle Internet companies - Cobalt Group, WatchGuard Technologies and N2H2 - the stocks actually declined on their first day of trading.

InterNap's IPO overshadowed the trading debut today of another Seattle Internet company,, whose stock climbed about 6 percent.

The online-commerce software company sold 7.25 million shares at $12 a share, raising $87 million. It originally planned to issue 7 million shares in a range of $10 to $12 a share. The stock, which trades under the symbol SPNW, closed up 68.8 cents to $12.688 in its launch today.

Today's debuts followed yesterday's launch of shares.

The Seattle company, which provides free and trial offers from major marketers on the Internet, went public at $12. It closed its first day of trading at $13.563, but at today's close, it was down $1.875 to $11.688.

Patrick Harrington's phone message number is 206-464-3328. His e-mail address is