Encore! Encore!

Black-owned publicly traded companies give fabulous performances

Things are heating up in the world of black-owned publicly traded firms. Including new entrants DME Interactive Holdings (OTC BB: DGMF) and Radio One (Nasdaq: ROIA), several stocks in the black enterprise Black Stock Index recently made news by revamping operations, posting record profits or fighting a hostile takeover.

Englewood, New Jersey-based e-commerce firm DME (Digital Mafia Entertainment) Interactive joins the index after effecting a “reverse merger” on June 22, 1999. The company acquired already publicly traded Pride Automotive Group, an auto-leasing company, in order to be listed on the OTC bulletin board (See “Talking tech and the stock market,” Techwatch, January 2000).

Darien Dash, chairman, president and CEO of DME, decided to do a reverse merger instead of an initial public offering partly because it would cost more to go public on its own.

In an effort to close the so-called digital divide, DME Interactive entered into an agreement with America Online (NYSE: AOL) to launch a co-branded online service for the urban market. In a press release dated February 14, AOL and DME Interactive said the Places of Color, its new online venture, would provide urban customers with complete access to the Internet. Powered by CompuServe 2000, the customized service offers seven e-mail addresses per subscription, instant messaging, chat rooms and 30 channels of content. Places of Color targets the 50 million members of the urban community and a $700 billion market, according to the release. DME Interactive stock recently closed at $8.

Radio One, an operator of radio stations catering to African American audiences, joins the index after completing its first year as a publicly traded company. The Lanham, Maryland-based company, which operates stations in such markets as Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., reported record results for the fourth quarter and full year on February 10. Gross broadcast revenues were $28.2 million in the fourth quarter, up 93.2% from the same period in 1998. Broadcast cash flow, a key financial measure in the industry, was $11.7 million for the three months ended December 1999, a 98.3% increase from a year ago. For all of 1999, gross broadcast revenues increased to $93.2 million and broadcast cash flow rose to $37.4 million at the end of 1999.

Radio One also filed to sell 5 million shares of Class A common stock. The company plans to use the proceeds of the stock offering to pay for future acquisitions, business development activities and for general corporate purposes, according to the prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. After the offering, there will be about 28.2 million outstanding shares of Radio One.

In a conference call with analysts, Radio One Chief Executive Alfred Liggins said the company plans to make acquisitions totaling more than $1 billion, a higher figure than previously disclosed. Radio One recently closed at $85.13.

Meanwhile, Baltimore-based Chapman Holdings (Nasdaq: CMAN) is repositioning itself as an online financial services operation through a public offering. On November 15, eChapman.com announced that it filed for an IPO of 3.3 million shares of stock in a price

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