Blog Post

Roo Lays Off Remains of Wurld Media Team

Roo Group, the video services company that seems to be constantly reshuffling these days, last week closed down the unit derived from its acquisition of peer-to-peer startup Wurld Media last year. New York-based Roo said publicly it had laid off 10 people, closed the Wurld team’s office, and would be eliminating associated costs, with the effect of “reduc[ing]
2008 expenses without negative impact to revenue growth.”

This news comes after Roo (OTC:RGRP) named a new CEO and saw the resignation of four of its directors in December. There’s a lot more meat in the Roo restructuring announcement from today — hirings, a change of headquarters, a new international focus, and plans for mobile video acquisitions — if you want to read it.

We’ve taken a special interest in Wurld Media, the peer-to-peer startup Roo bought in February 2007 for up to $10 million in cash and stock (the actual sale price has been pegged at $4.3 million). Wurld is entangled in a number of lawsuits, including larceny and money laundering charges against its executives as well as a class-action lawsuit brought by former employees demanding backpay.

Wurld had been ordered to pay nearly $1.3 million in judgments over the last year, according to the Albany Times Union, which also reported last week that the Roo acquisition resulted from Wurld having more than $1 million in debt at the time it was bought. The Roo Business Solutions Unit, an enterprise P2P product for media companies based on the Wurld acquisition and led by former Wurld CEO Greg Kerber, no longer has a functioning website.

We’ve been tipped off about additional departures by Roo executives and members of its sales team. It does appear some sales people have jumped to competitor NeuLion within the last month; the rest we’re trying to confirm and understand further. Let us know if you know. Roo did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

14 Responses to “Roo Lays Off Remains of Wurld Media Team”

  1. You idiots talking about Kerber and the employees who worked without pay for months need to stfu. Kerber also was also working the same amount of money but as someone said earlier was getting bad legal advice and ended up being forced to illegally be sold to Roo.

  2. I found out something for the wurld investors.

    Rather than becoming leaner and focusing, Roo has expanded globally. It gets better, former Jump TV president Kaleil Isaza Tuzman is now the CEO of Roo. Guess who the new global managers are, yep his cronies or ex-Jump colleagues. Guess what technology he’s behind, gee – hmm.

    So did the wurld leaders get outplayed again, it appears so. Was Jump acquired under suspicious circumstances too or did they only take the assests on that one as well and leave investors high and dry?

    Whose pockets got lined on this deal and whose left standing in the cold?

  3. Your article is wrong, Roo still has ex-wurld employees. Ask Joe Hatch, EVP and cofounder why he is still working for Roo? Ask him why Roo is saying they are moving away from p2p but still have wurld core p2p programmers on the payroll? Ask him how Roo is looking after the wurld investors that he sold the stock to?

  4. Whatever Tuzman decides now as it relates to P2P does not eradicate the possibility that there was illegal or at the very least unethical behavior on the part of senior executives from a publicly traded company (Roo) towards a private company (WMI). Criminal charges related to the executives of WMI could certainly pass over to the other side of the table related to this transacion. Remember the entire external members of the Board of Directors of Roo quit in December 2007 related to the activities of the other BOD members. The only two other members were Robert Petty and Robin Smyth. Both of these gentlemen seem to have been involved directly with the negogiations for WMI’s technology along with Steve Quinn. Interesting….where will the wheel stop?

  5. I can’t figure out why Greg Kerber and Rick Saxton aren’t smart enough to realize that they were out witted by Robert Petty ex-CEO of Roo, Robin Smyth acting CFO for Roo and Steve Quinn COO of Roo and that Roo conspired to steal the technology for nothing via the fake $400m note and the absence of a WMI shareholder vote…..Instead of taking the heat from the Saratoga DA’s office–they should reveal how Roo forced them to sell the technology illegally–let’s get the real bad guys……….But since they seemed to be so stupid in their business dealings…stands to reason they would continue being stupid on their own account…..”Stupid is as Stupid does”-Forest Gump

  6. Here are some interesting excerpts taken from an article by Richard A. D’Errico of The Business Review(Albany) dated February 25, 2005 with my editorials follwoing each.

    “I took the entire industry by surprise,” said Greg Kerber, Wurld Media Inc. chairman and chief executive. “We kept it really quiet.”

    Greg was full of a lot more than surprises and no wonder he kept things really quiet.

    “We knew it was a big story,” Kerber said. “We didn’t go to the industry with a baked cake. We went there wanting their participation in the process. We found them to be very cooperative.”

    See Greg knew all along it was just a big story – there was no cake – just a lot of people tricked into being cooperative while he picked their pockets.

    Already its staff is working some 12 to 14 hours a day, with some people working six or seven days a week. “I’ve had people who haven’t had a day off in three months,” said Kirk Feathers, president and chief technology officer.

    I’m sure Kirk was later overheard laughing with Greg – they haven’t had a day off in three months and we haven’t even paid them!

    “Consumers will be paid for delivering bits and bytes to other consumers on the network,” Kerber said. “In a lot of instances, the consumer can make more money than we do on the transaction.”

    It depends on what the meaning of the word PAID is Greg would tell you with a straight face even today.
    “We did 40 interviews in the course of two weeks,” Kerber said. “It brought instant credibility to the company.”

    Wurld Media lost all credibility in early 2002 this excerpt from a New York Times article by JOHN SCHWARTZ AND BOB TEDESCHI Published: September 27, 2002 should have provided insight into how far they would stretch the company ethics “Kirk H. Feathers, the chief technical officer of Wurld Media, said that it had been wrongly accused of stealing and that the company would readily go to court to defend itself.”

    Peer Impact allows consumers to build a secure and legal file-sharing community. It’s “created by and for the fan,” Kerber said.

    And while the consumers build a legal file-sharing community, Greg Kerber, Kirk Feathers, Rick Saxton and Joe Hatch can illegally bilk investors, employees and vendors.

    It’s a different tone set by Wurld than that of Johnny Deep, founder of the defunct Madster who said he liked the challenge and kept the lawsuits going as long as he could. He charged the Recording Industry Association of America of conducting a smear campaign and held fund-raising efforts to fight the RIAA on his Web site, with his daughter Aimee Deep dressed up as Tomb Raider.

    Interestingly, Deep and Kerber were neighbors in Cohoes, maybe the tone isn’t that different, it looks like Greg will be enjoying his own round of lawsuits.

    And Wurld Media’s Kerber said even the free services aren’t really free–it comes at a price. Somewhere they’re paying a price,” he said.

    Greg wasn’t kidding about that.

  7. Wurld_StockHolder

    To also add to Scotts comment, Joe Hatch was one of the key contributors to the demise of Wurld. The guy (along with Tonia Kip sp?) had no marketing sense whatsoever!

  8. Why is Joe Hatch still employeed at Roo. He was instrumental in the Wurld Media mess along with Greg Kerber. The same goes for Matt Corey and Ken Hausam, why are they still employeed at Roo. They didn’t shut the entire office down! Shame on them.