Cobalt, Webvan Soar in Their Trading Debuts

Cobalt ended up a whopping 482%, while the delayed Webvan offering closed up a not-too-shabby 65%.
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Cobalt Networks


saw shares soar more than fivefold after its initial public offering Friday, while

Webvan Group


finally went public, with its stock jumping 65%.

Shares for Cobalt rose 106 1/16 -- which for a while threatened's


record-setting opening day in 1998 -- to close at 128 1/16, after trading as high as 158, a rise of 618%. gained 606% in its first day of trading.

Webvan rose 9 13/16 to 24 7/8.

Cobalt, which makes specialized computer servers, sold 5 million shares in the initial public offering at $22 each, raising $110 million. The total was 40% more than was initially expected.

Webvan is an on-line grocer based in Foster City, Calif., which plans to create as many as 26 distribution centers across the country. The company was founded by Louis Borders, a long-time executive in the retail industry.

Webvan sold 25 million shares -- about 8% -- for $15 each, raising $375 million. The company had initially expected an offering price of $11 to $13 a share.

"I think it's amazing, terrific," said Tim DeMello, the chief executive of


, also an online service provider that went public earlier this year. "In today's Internet economy, people like things that are big and Webvan is big."

Last month, Webvan ran into problems with its IPO after

reported that the company gave detailed information to institutional investors

. Adam Lashinsky


Silicon Valley columnist, reported that some details were not found on Webvan's initial S-1 registration statement -- a disclosure form for companies about to release initial public offerings.

Following Lashinsky's

article , Webvan delayed its IPO, until Friday. The company filed an amended S-1 registration statement with details that had been given to institutional investors.

Later in October, Arthur Levitt, chairman of the

Securities and Exchange Commission


urged companies to give the same information to all investors. He said companies should open their conference calls to the public and the media. He also said the SEC would explore regulating "selective disclosure."