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The issue of one million shares was 27 times oversubscribed and the entire offering was sold for over 46 euros per share, offering further confirmation of the City’s ongoing love affair with the Internet.

The outcome will allow artnet.com to press ahead with investments in technology, particularly in its recently launched online auction business, and will also help finance a planned expansion in personnel at the company’s New York offices.

Further announcements are expected in London this week as increasing numbers of Internet start-up auction companies rush to benefit from the current market mania for e-commerce stocks. Few if any fine art Internet companies have yet to turn a profit, however. Indeed, most are looking to a delay of at least 18 months before they even predict to break even. Future business is largely dependent upon the prospect of diverse revenue streams and it is this component of Internet business plans which is driving Stock Market flotations in an upward direction.

Elsewhere, London-based Internet service provider icollector plc this week confirmed the appointment of Sandy Mallet as head of business development for auctions. Mallet, a former deputy director of business development at Sotheby’s, spoke of his intention to bring “both marketing and auction world experience to icollector at a time when they are forging ahead in an exploding new industry”.

The company, which trades on the Ofex facility in London, recently sold a 20 per cent stake in its business to French luxury goods entrepreneur, Bernard Arnault, who has just withdrawn from a struggle with Christie’s owner François Pinault for control of Gucci.

Meanwhile, Sotheby’s Internet Division has launched a recruitment drive, looking for staff for its Help Desk, administration and cataloguing services.

Both Sotheby’s and Christie’s are scheduled to commence online auctions later in the summer.