Angie's List soars on debut, but concerns linger

Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:08pm EST

(Reuters) - Shares of consumer review website Angie's List surged as much as 44 percent on their market debut Thursday as investors continued to lap up internet offerings, but concerns about the company's profitability could loom on the stock.

The company saw its shares touch a high of $18.75, a day after pricing its IPO at the high end of its expected price range of $11-$13.

The stock's surge on day one mirrors equally solid debuts of other internet sites such as LinkedIn, Groupon Inc and Zillow, but their stocks have shed some gains since getting listed.

Angie's debut on the market could also turn the spotlight on competitors like Yelp, which is expected to go public soon.

Shares of Angie's were up 20 percent at $15.60 in afternoon trading.

However, some analysts were cautious about the stock's ability to sustain the momentum as the company is yet to turn a profit.

"The stock does not have a fundamental footprint that is going to give investors confidence over the longer term," IPOfinancial.com President David Menlow told Reuters.

For the nine months ended Sept 30, the company recorded revenue of $62.6 million, but posted a net loss of $43.2 million, compared with revenue of $42.9 million and a net loss of $19 million in the same period a year ago.

The Indianapolis-based company, which allows members to view, rate and review local businesses, offers services in more than 550 categories to over a million paid members in 175 local markets in the U.S.

"Penetration rates in some of the larger geographic markets lag the mid-sized markets... so maybe, the platform isn't really geared for the larger markets," Menlow said.

Angie's offering consisted of 8.8 million shares, of which the company sold 6.3 million shares. The rest were sold by stockholders, including some members of its senior management.

Angie Hicks and Bill Oesterle, who co-founded the company in Columbus, Ohio in 1995, were amongst the selling stockholders, diluting their ownership to 6.3 percent and 1.5 percent.

In its IPO filing, the company said it intends to use proceeds from the offering to fund its advertising strategy to drive membership growth.

The IPO, which was underwritten by a group of eight banks led by BofA Merrill Lynch, raised $114.3 million in proceeds.

(Reporting by Aman Shah and Brenton Cordeiro in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Anil D'Silva)

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