A much-anticipated initial public offering from transaction-processor iPayment (IPMT:Nasdaq) continues to await a price, syndicate sources said, and its window to begin trading Friday is quickly closing. The 4.5 million-share deal was slated to price at about $15 on Thursday and trade on Friday, but so far it hasn't been sold.

While underwriters still expect the offering to come to market, a withdrawal of the iPayment deal would be a body blow to hopes that the environment for new equity issues might soon bounce back. Earlier this week, another technology IPO, DigitalNet, was withdrawn because of market uncertainty. DigitalNet is a government IT contractor, and several reports said the deal was pulled after institutions became skittish about customer retention issues.

No initial offering of stock has been sold to the U.S. public in two months. About 20 deals are said to be registered and waiting for the go-ahead from underwriters.

iPayment, a payment processing firm, planned to price 4.5 million shares at $14-$16 per share. The deal supposedly had good institutional interest, with several traders saying they were under the impression that it was oversubscribed as of last night. The terms of the IPO allow for an additional 675,000 over-allotment shares to be offered in such an event. Still, as of 3 p.m. EDT, the shares had yet to trade. "As the clock ticks, it becomes increasingly likely that it will be a no-show", said a source with Thomas Weisel & Partners, a co-manager on the deal. The source gave credence to reports that a routine clearance by regulators might be delaying the offering. Nobody at Bear Stearns, which is the lead underwriter, could be reached for comment. Phone calls to iPayment weren't returned.

Unlike DigitalNet, whose most recent pro forma financial statement showed a decline in revenue, iPayment's April 23 report showed the company had net income of $900,000 on revenue of $46.7 million, compared with a loss of $700,000 on revenue of $16.5 million last year. Most of the revenue increase was a result of recent acquisitions, however, and that could be drawing the scrutiny of potential investors.

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