Of all the temptations that contributed to the new economy's opulent mirage, few were as enticing as the initial public offering. How things have changed. In the second quarter of 1999, 139 companies filed an S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission; for the same quarter of 2001, that number fell to 26. Going public has gone from a cakewalk to a slow crawl over hot coals. HPL Technologies Inc. CEO David Lepejian (pictured in the magazine at Nasdaq the day of his IPO) spent 18-hour days hyping his company's IPO to newly skittish moneyed types who were reluctant to add to their growing portfolios-cum-compost of incorporated carrion. HPL, a software developer for the semiconductor industry, made it through the gantlet of wary investors, however, and by the closing of its July 31 market debut the company's share price was up 21%, to $13.35.



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