The Man Behind Motricity’s $250 Million IPO & His Incentives

Motricity's CEO Ryan Wuerch

After promising an initial public offering for the past six years, Motricity has officially filed documents to raise up to $250 million through the public markets.

The man behind the deal is Ryan Wuerch, the founder and CEO of the Bellevue, Wash.-based company, who has been in the spotlight for better or for worse. While being very successful at raising hundreds of millions of dollars from investors, like billionaire Carl Icahn, he was highly criticized for his decision to buy InfoSpace (NSDQ: INSP) Mobile for $135 million in 2007. That acquisition brought out his harshest critics, who were enraged after he laid off most of the Motricity’s employees; moved the headquarters from North Carolina to Bellevue; and ditched Motricity’s core technology in favor of InfoSpace’s. Still, today, it was likely the best decision for the the company given its reliance on its previous competitor’s technology, clients and employees.

Now that Motricity has filed for an IPO, there’s more information available on how the 42-year-old Wuerch managed the company from behind the scenes. We scoured the public filings to find his compensation package, which includes generous relocation benefits and incentives to either sell the company or have it go public in the next six months.

Wuerch has plenty of incentive in his employment agreement to either sell the company or have it go public by July 25:

Salary: In 2009, Wuerch earned a salary of $365,000 and all other compensation of $73,000, which consisted of a stipend for cost of living adjustments for moving to the Seattle area. He will continue to get the adjustments until July 25, 2010 or the company’s IPO (whichever comes first). The company said that while no executives received salary increases during 2009 because of the poor economy, Wuerch’s salary will increase to $450,000 as soon as the company goes public.

Motivation to go public: Wuerch entered into a new two-year employment agreement on Jan. 19, 2010. In 2010, he will have the chance to earn an additional 75 percent of his salary if the company hits certain financial thresholds. When the company IPOs, it will increase to 100% of his salary and it will be pro-rated from the date of the IPO.

Motivation to sell: If Motricity is sold prior to either an IPO or July 25, Wuerch will receive a bonus. If the sale price is less than $300 million, he will receive a lump sum of $2 million. If it sells for more than $300 million, Wuerch will receive 1 percent of the value of the sale. (A $400 million-dollar sale will mean $4 million, etc.). In both circumstances, all of the company’s equity must be sold.

Motricity is still paying the price for relocating the company to Bellevue:

Relocation: Motricity purchased both Wuerch’s house and Motricity’s COO Jim Smith’s house based on prices determined by a third-party company. Wuerch’s house was appraised at $2 million and Smith’s was worth $1.2 million. Under the arrangements, Motricity paid the mortgage and all costs associated with the homes, including taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, repairs and improvements, until they sold. In November, Smith


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