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 in 1995, 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.

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% in 1996, when Microsoft Corporation's MSFT 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%. The Netscape source code served as the basis for Mozilla’s Firefox browser, which is still used today.

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