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Netscape’s Initial Public Offering History: Spirit of a Successful Business Entity

from: Forsgrens

Before the popularity of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla Corporation’s Firefox web browser, Netscape first dominated the web browsing arena. It was formerly known as the Netscape Communications Corporation that was established in 1994. It offered an extensive line of client and integrated computer applications software for commerce and communications over the Internet and private IP or Internet protocol networks. Netscape’s most popular product during that time, which is the Netscape Navigator, became the leading web browser that allowed individual computer system units to trade information and conduct commerce over the Internet. It offered enterprise with basic capabilities for the creation and operation of web servers, sites, and other places on the Internet which browsers could visit.

The development of the Internet technology in the late 1960’s facilitated the demand for Netscape’s products. The late 1960’s is the period wherein the computer system units needed a software that can access the information stored on the Internet as well as share and upload data that can also be accessed by other web users. The Web was extensively engineered during the early 1990’s with the inclusion of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

It facilitated the entrance of Netscape in the Internet market through the web browsers area, where they were faced with two challenges: first is to set a new industry standard and second, to generate revenues out of that new industry standard. In order to face the challenge, Netscape created a computer program that will eliminate Mosaic (software program created by a group of computer science students working for NCSA or the National Center for Supercomputing Applications which enabled non-technical users to gain access and retrieve data on the Web) out of the market.

And Netscape did it. Sixty percent of Mosaic’s share in the web browsing industry was thrown out by Netscape’s Navigator.

However, different young and rapidly-growing software companies became Netscape’s biggest competitors in the web browser market. They need to have an additional equity capital to sustain the intense competition between other software companies. To raise additional equity capital, Netscape have gone to the process of initial public offering of their common shares to interested investors.

To address Netscape’s needs for an additional equity capital, they began to explore the option of raising additional funds through IPO or initial public offering in the early months of 1995. Since they have undergone IPO, Netscape was injected with different forms of investment capital. Different investors ventured into the industry of Netscape, hoping that with the popularity of the company among web browser clientele, they will be able to generate huge profits.

Netscape completed their IPO in April 1994, and was considered to be a remarkable step in its entire corporate history. Netscape became the fastest growing software company in the history of the web browser market, with an initial market value of around $1 billion against several hundred millions of young software companies in the market.

IPO brought about $9.5 million worth of investment capital to Netscape. At the end of the year, the net revenues were recorded to be at $696,000 and net loss of around $8 million due to cash flow from operating activities. However, Netscape, through the IPO, had enough financial funds to pay most of their expenditures.

Netscape’s initial public offering history is remarkable. Although the corporation does not exist anymore, Netscape’s performance during the entire 9 years of their operation in the web browser market is truly a spirit of a successful business entity.

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