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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Wired Not Wired for Financial Success


PALO ALTO, California -- Wired magazine remains one of the publishing world's hottest 1990s startups, but on the brink of its parent's initial stock offering some analysts are warning the chronicle of the digerati of the Internet age may prove a better read than investment.

"It's a great read, off Wall Street, but the balance sheet is not quite as neo-designed as the magazine," said Steve Harmon, senior investment analyst at Mecklermedia's iWORLD.

On Thursday, Wired Ventures Inc., which canceled an attempt to go public last summer, postponed its offering from Friday until at least next week amid arguments over how much the company was worth.

Wired Ventures is trying to sell 4.75 million shares to investors who had expressed interest in the offering. According to its prospectus, the company hoped those investors would pay between $12 and $14 a share, giving the company a maximum market value of $293 million. (That calculation is based on the total number of shares a company has, rather than how many it sells.)

The offering would value Wired at one-third less than last summer's canceled offering, which would have capitalized it at $450 million.

Neither the company nor its underwriters would comment on a Reuters report Thursday that the target number of shares and the estimated price range had been slashed further, to $8 to $10 a share.

Experts said even before Thursday night's confusion that they expected a tepid response to the offering, partly because it was canceled once before.

"They [Wired Ventures] really had a wall of worry to climb,'' said David Menlow, president of IPO Financial Networks, which projects opening prices for initial public offerings. "All postponed stock offerings are viewed with a jaundiced eye.''

Wired magazine continues to be among the fastest-growing publishing properties, growing in circulation from 90,000 at the end of 1993, its first year of publication, to an estimated 325,000 in August, according to the company's offering documents.

The company also runs HotWired, a hip Web site geared for those who want to keep on the leading edge of digital developments, and the search engine HotBot. ()