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Goldman Sachs Files For IPO

Goldman Sachs, the last large privately-held investment bank, filed Monday with the Securities & Exchange Commission for an initial public stock offering.

The 129-year-old bank will be the lead underwriter for its own deal, according to the SEC filing. Goldman Sachs left blank many details of the IPO, including the number of shares and their expected price, which will be included in later amended filings.

However, the filing does give investors their first detailed look at the investment bank's financial results. The company said it generated pre-tax earnings of $2.1 billion for the first six months of 1998, compared to $1.5 billion in the year-ago period. Revenues jumped to $5.5 billion from $3.6 billion. The company's earnings do not include "payments for services rendered by its partners" and thus understate what its true operating costs will be after the offering, the filing said.

The company does not reveal how much it plans on raising in the IPO.

"I can understand Goldman's reticence about putting any numbers on the board, given market conditions," said John Fitzgibbon, editor of The IPO Reporter.

Despite a tough IPO environment - especially for large, non-Internet deals - most observers expect Goldman Sachs to have little trouble generating interest in its offering.

Goldman Sachs has filed to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "GS." A company typically goes public about six to eight weeks after its initial SEC filing, also known as a red herring.

In other IPO news, after only two months as a public company, Internet e-tailer Software.net is changing its name to Beyond.com.

Software.net President and CEO Mark Breier told CBS.MarketWatch.com that the new name was "greatly preferred""by people polled in focus groups and will give the company the flexibility to offer more than just software in the long-term.

"Just like Amazon.com means nothing specifically, but big in general, Beyond.com means nothing specifically, but ... has great emotional context," said Breier, a former Amazon marketing executive.

In connection with the name change, shares of software.net will trade under the new ticker symbol BYND starting on Tuesday. Breier said the company has also enhanced its Web site by implementing new features such as product reviews and recommendations.

Software.net went public on June 12 at $9 a share. The stock, which rose as high as 22 7/8, has been in gradual retreat since mid-July. Shares rose 5/16 to 12 3/4 Monday.

Written By Darren Chervitz