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FriendFinder IPO delayed Again

NEW YORK (AP) — Two IPOs expected to start trading Thursday were delayed as world financial markets continued to decline on concern about the pace of the global economic recovery — yet another sign of trouble for companies looking to sell shares to the public.

Insurer Patriot Risk Management Inc. and Penthouse magazine publisher FriendFinder Networks Inc. didn’t begin trading Thursday, as was widely expected. They join a growing list of companies that have delayed their offerings, or accepted a lower price for their shares, to get the deals done.

Earlier this week, investment bank Imperial Capital Group Inc. postponed its IPO, a person familiar with the offering told the Associated Press. In January, real estate investment trust Terreno Realty Corp. and China-based Daqo New Energy Corp., a solar energy company, shelved offerings.

“It’s looking more and more like it might be a bad sign,” said Nick Einhorn of Renaissance Capital, a Greenwich, Conn., IPO research firm. Some of the companies have had no operating history, heavy debt or slow sales growth — sore points that sliding stock markets are exacerbating.

“This is the kind of market where one or two important issues are enough to turn away a lot of investors,” Einhorn said. In a healthier market, many investors are willing to look past a few trouble spots….

…..Penthouse publisher FriendFinder, which was supposed to come to market in late January, managed to raise $105 million Wednesday night, but the start of trading has been delayed, according to John Fitzgibbon of IPOScoop.com, and Sal Morreale, who tracks IPOs for Cantor Fitzgerald in Los Angeles.

FriendFinder sold 15 million shares for $7 apiece, the IPO trackers said, citing bank sources. The company, which carries a heavy debt load, had initially wanted to sell 20 million shares for $10 to $12 each.

FriendFinder did not return messages. Its underwriters, Russian investment bank Renaissance Securities (Cyprus) Ltd. and Ledgemont Capital Markets, refused to comment.

If FriendFinder and Patriot don’t start trading until next week, that will crowd the schedule — five other companies are scheduled to go public — and create more competition. That could lead more companies to trim or delay their offerings.

“If you have more deals trying to get out, it will create a problem,” Morreale said.

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