Internet Media Company PlanetOut Goes Public

Internet Media Company PlanetOut Goes Public
Rhett Pardon
SAN FRANCISCO — PlanetOut Inc., owner of Gay.com, PlanetOut.com and a slew of other websites, has become the first gay-and-lesbian-directed business to trade its stock on a major exchange.

San Francisco-based PlanetOut, in a prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, says it has 3.3 million active members who register for free. It also says it has 110,000 members who subscribe to premium content.

The company made an initial public stock offering of 4.65 million shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Thursday, the first day of trading using the ticker symbol LGBT — an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

PlanetOut said it hoped to raise $39 million through the initial public offering, money that would be used to bolster traffic, increase the number of subscribers using its fee-based service for personal ads and expand into more countries.

The company said it reaches 100 countries and offers its membership services in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish for numerous country-specific Gay.com-and PlanetOut.com-branded sites.

PlanetOut also owns Kleptomaniac.com, which offers fashion, video and music products, and OutandAbout.com for gay and lesbian travelers.

Since the company was founded in 2001, it has yet to turn a profit and has experienced losses of nearly $37.2 million.

According to Nielsen/NetRatings, in June 2004, Gay.com ranked second in terms of average time online per person and 16th in terms of visits per person among all websites measured.

PlanetOut is considering using its strong online presence to move into other media, such as print, radio or broadcast.

Shares were flat at $10.40 on the Nasdaq in midday trading.