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Gay Internet provider announces bid to go public

Gay Internet provider announces bid to go public

PlanetOut Inc., an online media company that operates Internet sites geared to gay men and lesbians, has announced plans to go public in the near future. In documents filed with Securities and Exchange Commission, the San Francisco-based company said it hopes to raise up to $75 million with an initial public offering of stock that would trade on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol "LGBT," an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. PlanetOut, which operates and three other gay- and lesbian-oriented Web sites that have more than 3.3 million active users worldwide, has been somewhat of a success story amid the ruins wrought by the bursting of the dot-com bubble four years ago. Still small by corporate standards, it had revenues last year of $19 million, compared with the $962 million brought in by Internet search engine Google, which revealed plans for its own long-awaited stock market debut Thursday. The company has increasingly moved toward profitability, ending 2003 with a loss of $752,000 and its first profitable quarters compared with the $7.9 million worth of red ink it spilled the year before. Rising advertising revenue and income from its subscription-based personals service gave PlanetOut record fourth-quarter revenue. PlanetOut did not specify what its stock would sell for but said the IPO would begin "as soon as practicable" after its plans receive regulatory approval. The company said it will offer all of its shares in the IPO, which will be managed by UBS Investment Bank and WR Hambrecht.

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