Modem Media . Poppe Tyson Files for IPO

Modem Media . Poppe Tyson Inc. filed for an initial stock offering that could raise as much as $45 million.

However, according to the registration statement, True North Communications will continue to retain majority ownership of the agency.

The company was formed in May by the merger of online marketing companies Modem Media and Poppe Tyson Inc. The combined company creates Internet advertising campaigns for clients including AT&T and Citibank.

The company’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission cited stats from Jupiter Communications predicting that online advertising is expected to generate $5 billion a year by 2000, up from $1.1 billion produced in 1997.

Modem Media . Poppe Tyson is “one of the largest of the top tier” interactive ad agencies and “there is going to be some decent demand” for its stock, Marc Johnson, a senior analyst at New York-based Jupiter, told Bloomberg News.

Modem said it would use $6 million of the IPO proceeds to repay money owed to True North Communications Inc., the majority owner of Modem, which will have control over all the company’s Class B shares after the offering. The remainder could be used to acquire or invest in complementary marketing communications companies or services or to expand to new locations, the filing said.

The company didn’t specify the number of Class A shares it would sell or estimate a price. The $45 million top value was estimated solely to calculate the SEC filing fee.

Using calculations as if the company had been combined for the full nine months ended Sept. 30, 1998, Modem estimated that it had net losses of $2.1 million, compared with losses of almost $2.0 million in the year-earlier period. Modem estimated it had revenue of $30.4 million compared with $18.0 million in the first nine months of last year.

CEO Gerald M. O’Connell and Douglas C. Ahlers, executive vice president, each control 43.9 percent of Modem’s Class A shares before the initial stock offering. The Class A shares will get one vote per share while the Class B shares will get 5 votes apiece, according to the filing.

Underwriters will include BancBoston Robertson Stephens, Nationsbanc Montgomery Securities LLC, and Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. Modem has applied to trade on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol MMPT.

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