Stock Watch: Strong Start For E-Stamp

Shares of online postage company E-Stamp (Nasdaq: ESTM) climbed nearly 32 percent on Friday after the company went public, gaining 5-3/8 to 22-3/8. The stock opened at 30 and traded as high as 33. Pre-IPO demand was high, with E-Stamp pricing its offering above the revised price range of $14 to $16 and well above the original range of $12 to $14. In addition, the offering size was bumped from the expected 6.5 million shares to seven million.

The battle between E-Stamp and rival Stamps.com is going to be one to watch for a long while. Both companies are early-stage businesses whose technology has only recently been approved by the U.S. Postal Service, and it remains to be seen what kind of revenues online postage can generate.

What makes the competition between these two companies especially intriguing is that Microsoft is riding both fences. Stamps.com has a distribution deal with Microsoft, while E-Stamp has Microsoft as an investor. Both companies are backed by heavyweight investors. In addition to Microsoft, E-Stamp has AT&T, [email protected] and Compaq as investors. Meanwhile, Stamps.com’s investors include Intel and Paul Allen’s Vulcan Ventures.

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