This Day In Market History: The First Internet Search Engine IPO

This Day In Market History: The First Internet Search Engine IPO

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

What Happened? On Feb. 2, 1996, Open Text Corp (USA) OTEX became the first internet search engine company to go public.

Where Was The Market? The S&P 500 was trading at 635.84 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 5373.99.

What Else Was Going On In The World? In 1996, a Mad Cow Disease epidemic in the U.K. resulted in the mass slaughter of entire herds of cows. The number of global internet users reached 10 million. The minimum hourly wage in the U.S. was raised to $5.15 per hour.

The Beginning Of Something Big: Investors today know Alphabet Inc GOOGGOOGL and its Google search engine as the dominant force in internet search and advertising. However, more than eight years before Google went public in 2004, there wasn’t a single internet search company trading on a major U.S. exchange.

Open Text changed that story when it held its IPO in February 1996. Open Text led the charge of search engine IPOs and was followed by Lycos, Excite and Yahoo within four months' time.

Compared to the other search engine stocks of the dot-com bubble, (notably Yahoo) Open Text’s run-up was relatively modest. The company’s market cap peaked at just around $1.3 billion in early 2000 before crashing back down to around $400 million later in the year.

Open Text still trades on the Nasdaq to this day. The company now develops and sells enterprise information management software.

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