Blue Nile plans to raise $75 million in an IPO

Online jewelry retailer Blue Nile Inc. on Thursday filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise as much as $75 million in an initial public offering, Reuters reports.

The Seattle-based online store said it offers more than 30,000 independently certified diamonds and more than 1,000 styles of jewelry such as rings, wedding bands, earrings, bracelets, and watches.

Blue Nile, whose products can be found on www.bluenile.com, said it has eliminated traditional diamond wholesalers and brokers, which helps lower prices by avoiding mark-ups, and it has limited inventory because it only orders diamonds that customers have ordered.

It announced it had filed a preliminary prospectus with the SEC without disclosing details such as the amount of shares and an estimated price range, Reuters reports. Those details and others are expected in an amended offering document to be filed later with federal regulators.

It said the company and shareholders will sell common shares in the IPO, Reuters reports. It said it will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares by holders.

According to the regulatory document, the company has posted growth in net sales each year since launching the company in 1999. The document shows that net sales in 2003 reached $128.9 million from $44.2 million in 2000, Reuters reports.

It reportedly said independent research firm Forrester Research estimates that the online jewelry and luxury goods market are expected to grow at an annual rate of 25% to $6 billion in 2008 from $2 billion in 2003.

It has applied to list its shares on Nasdaq under the symbol “NILE.” Merrill Lynch & Co.; Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. and Thomas Weisel Partners LLC will manage the offering, according to the IPO document.

The proceeds may be used for general corporate purposes, including working capital and capital expenditures, and possible investments in securities, the company reportedly said.

It reportedly said it has no intention of acquiring other businesses or technologies.