Investors, banks reach deal on World Online IPO

AMSTERDAM - The Dutch VEB investors lobby said on Wednesday it had reached a settlement with banks related to the initial public offering of World Online in 2000, a high-profile dot-com flotation that went spectacularly wrong.

By (Reuters)

Published: Wed 24 Nov 2010, 5:40 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 11:33 AM

VEB said it would take several more months to finalise the deal with Royal Bank of Scotland Plc — the legal successor in the case to now slimmed-down state bank ABN Amro — and Goldman Sachs.

It said the 12,000 claimants it represents could share a maximum amount of 110 million euros ($147 million) which would, with interest, be more than their share of losses up to April 3, 2000.

The deal follows a November 2009 High Court ruling that World Online and the banks accompanying the March 17 IPO had painted too rosy a picture of the value and prospects of the company, which went to market at the height of the dot-com bubble.

World Online was founded in 1995 by Nina Brink and was a leading Dutch Internet service provider. It was floated at 43 euros in March 17, giving it a value of 12 billion euros, but its share price collapsed after revelations of some events prior to the introduction, particularly Brink’s sale of her stake three mnonths earlier for a fraction of the IPO price.

Brink was dismissed as chief executive in April 2000, and Italy’s Tiscali acquired the firm later that year.

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