Accenture to Price Initial Offering


Consulting firm Accenture Ltd. will dominate the otherwise moribund market for initial public offerings this week, with the Bermuda-based company hoping to soak up some $1.6 billion from investors.

The former Arthur Andersen consulting services arm is selling as much as 20% of itself at $13 to $15 a share. Investors said that while Accenture seems to be a good long-term bet, it's going out into a rocky market where scores of other IPOs have been postponed this year and recent floats of issues have suffered with the rest of the market.

The other company slated to float an issue this week is Natus Medical Inc., a venture-backed prenatal and infant testing company that will trade under ticker symbol "BABY." Slated to price on Thursday, Natus is looking to raise $49.5 million by selling 4.5 million shares at $10 to $12 each.

Both companies are profitable, a significant criteria for luring investors into IPOs after many were burned by the rise and fall of technology stocks. Accenture, with annual revenue of around $10 billion, seems likely to continue to deliver profit to shareholders even as the market for consulting services is facing a wrenching downturn because of the economy.

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