Market Overview

This Day In Market History: The Netscape IPO

This Day In Market History: The Netscape IPO

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day 23 years ago, Netscape went public at $28 per share.

Where The Market Was

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 4,671.49 and the S&P 500 traded at 559.71. Today, the Dow is trading at 25,583.75 and the S&P 500 is trading at 2,857.70.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 1995, Barings Bank, the oldest investment bank in the UK, collapsed after the bank lost $1.4 billion on speculative trades in the Tokyo market. The World Trade Organization was created. A loaf of bread cost $2.02.

Beginnings Of The Dot Com Bubble

Roughly a year after the company was founded, Netscape held its IPO in August 1995, and some see the excitement surrounding the IPO as one of the earliest indicators of dot-com mania. Without the company demonstrating even a hint of profitability, Netscape stock skyrocketed as high as $74.75 per share on its first day of trading before finishing the day at $58.25. The closing price valued the web browser at around $3 billion.

By the end of 1995, Netscape shares traded at $174.

Netscape’s web browser market share peaked at around 80 percent in 1996, when Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT)’s Internet Explorer soon began eating into that share.

In 1999, AOL acquired Netscape during the height of the bubble in a deal valuing the company at $10 billion. At the time, Netscape’s browser share had already declined to around 50 percent. The Netscape source code served as the basis for Mozilla’s Firefox browser, which is still used today.

Related Links:

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