Capitalizing on investors' infatuation with electronic commerce, Sterling Software last week successfully launched an initial public offering of stock in a subisidiary that specializes in the technology.

Officials at the Dallas-based software developer said that stock of Sterling Commerce Inc. began trading on the New York Stock Exchange March 8. Around 12 million shares were sold at $24 each, thus raising about $288 million. Alex. Brown & Sons was the lead underwriter, with the Chicago Corp. and Bear, Stearns & Co. serving as co-managers. The underwriters have an option to purchase an additional 1.8 million shares to cover overallotments.

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