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Braving The IPO World

A 26-year-old, family-owned company in St. Paul, Minn., that makes enterprise resource planning software for businesses in the health-care, financial-services, retail, and professional-services industries launches an IPO. So why all the excitement?

Lawson Soft-ware went public on Dec. 7 and raised $196 million, with 14 million shares priced at $14 each, in the first IPO for a Web software company since ...

A 26-year-old, family-owned company in St. Paul, Minn., that makes enterprise resource planning software for businesses in the health-care, financial-services, retail, and professional-services industries launches an IPO. So why all the excitement?

Lawson Soft-ware went public on Dec. 7 and raised $196 million, with 14 million shares priced at $14 each, in the first IPO for a Web software company since November 2000. The stock closed its first day of trading at $15.82.

Unlike many IT companies that flirted with Wall Street in recent years, Lawson is in the black. It boasts 2,000 customers, but there's nothing fancy about its success.

"Lawson had $380 million in revenue last year. That's a pretty big size and hardly anyone knows them," says Yankee group analyst Harry Tse. "You'd be hard-pressed to say it's got unique technology nobody else has. On the operation side, it's been pretty well run, and it serves its customers well. Nothing spicy ever came out of St. Paul."