OpenTV Inc., the interactive-television-software provider
backed by some big media players, tripled its stock price on its first day of NASDAQ
trading last Tuesday, cresting at $64.50 per share before closing at $62.75.
OpenTV priced 7.5 million class-A common shares at $20
each, aimed at raising $150 million. Cash from the initial public offering, of about 14
percent equity, will go toward working capital and future acquisitions.
OpenTV's software is available on more than 4.5
million set-top boxes, mostly in Europe. Dutch firm MIH Holdings Ltd. owns the company.
The stock surge -- it opened at $56 -- could be traced to
several factors, including the popularity of the interactive-television sector and support
from some of the biggest players in the industry.
"Absolutely, the sector was a big help,"
WorldFinanceNet.com research director Irv DeGraw said. "They are at the forefront of
what is shaping up to be the next technological battleground. They are already on more
than 4 million set-tops -- that's way ahead of everybody else -- and they have the
In October, an investor group led by Liberty Digital and
including News Corp., Time Warner Inc., General Instrument Corp., America Online Inc. and
Sun Microsystems Inc. bought $31.25 million, or 19 percent, of OpenTV through convertible
preferred shares. Those shares converted to class-A shares after the IPO.
Liberty, News and Time Warner each got 5.6 million shares
in the deal. GI got 2.25 million, and AOL got 4.5 million. Sun -- a founding shareholder
of OpenTV -- has 4.5 million shares.
Based on the closing price of the stock Nov. 23,
Liberty's and Time Warner's stakes were worth $351.4 million each. GI's
stock was worth $141.2 million, and AOL's shares were valued at $282.4 million.
Merrill Lynch & Co. was the lead underwriter.