MutualFundWire.com: Is the Net Ready for GS.com?
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Monday, October 04, 1999

Is the Net Ready for GS.com?


Has Goldman Sachs caught Internet fever? The first sign may have been when the white shoe investment bank refiled for its IPO (after pulling its first attempt after the bear swept Wall Street in the summer of 1998). When it submitted a revised filing last March, it played up its stake in Wit Capital. Most recently it announced that it will launch an Internet mutual fund.

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The latest buzz is it that Goldman is readying an online brokerage site featuring a new fund supermarket, but there may be less to this report than meets the eye, according to Goldman.

The weekly newsletter Fund Action reported that Goldman is preparing these services for launch in the next few months. It claims that the service will be targeted at the high-net-worth market and that Leslie Tortora, managing director and chief information officer, and George Walker, managing director, will act as co-heads of the new service.

"GS.com" as insiders are calling the service, will feature Goldman Sachs Asset Management funds along with funds from other companies. It will also debut an investment advice tool, according to the newsletter.

However, a somewhat irate Goldman Sachs spokesperson denied that the launch of this service is imminent. The spokesperson steered questions back to Goldman's prospectus (Click here for the document. Hint, search for the term "Internet Strategy" ). She also said that calling the new service a "fund supermarket" is a mischaracterization.

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Goldman Sachs is by no means the only IPO among financial services firms. BlackRock, Inc. -- an unit of PNC Bank Corp. -- is planning to raise $126 million in IPO set for Friday. The offering is of 9 million shares priced at $14 representing a 14% stake in the manager.

Meanwhile, Neuberger & Berman is planning to go public by the end of the year. The company which is noted for its value-orientated investing style is also starting to remake its image. In December it plans to roll-out a large cap growth fund. Also, its Millennium fund is one of the leading performers of the year.

* * *

Two more firms have announced the completion of recent mergers. First Union Corp. completed its $1.1 billion purchase of Everen Capital Corp. on Friday, while Gabelli finished up its alliance with the Gathers Fund today.

First Union is renaming made Everen a part of newly created First Union Securities Inc. The unit will also include Richmond, Virginia-based Wheat First Union and 20 of First Unions business units, including First Union Brokerage Services. Gabelli's purchase of Mathers was approved at a recent special meeting of Mathers Fund shareholders.


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