UPDATED: A curious tweet appeared on the Move Networks Twitter stream this morning suggesting that the online video company could be on the block — with an asking price of $150 million. And now sources say that the CEO is stepping down and resigning from the company’s board.
The following message appeared on the company’s Twitter stream earlier today:
“Want some slightly used company assets and some amazing video streaming IP rights? $150,000,000 and it’s yours! Foosball table included.”
Since then NewTeeVee has learned that Roxanne Austin, the former president and COO of DirecTV who had been charged with the job of turning the company around, is stepping down and resigning from the company’s board later this week. Austin joined the company last July to help transition it from a company offering services to media customers to one targeting major ISPs.
Since being founded in 2006, the company has raised more than $70 million, including a $46 million Series C round from blue chip investors such as Benchmark Capital, Cisco (s CSCO), Comcast Interactive Media (s CMCSA), Televisa, Disney (s DIS) venture arm Steamboat Ventures and Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. The company tried to keep afloat through a $20 million funding round it attempted to raise earlier this year, but only managed to pull in $3 million, according to SEC filings.
For a while, Move had some of the best technology for IP video delivery on the market, and its advantage in adaptive bitrate streaming helped it to secure customers like ABC (s DIS), Fox (s NWS), ESPN, the CW (s CBS), and Discovery (s DISCA). But in the past several years, both Microsoft (s MSFT) Silverlight and Adobe (s ADBE) Flash have caught up and have begun offering variable bitrate streaming technology of their own. As a result, several media companies — including flagship customers ABC and Fox — have moved on.
In the meantime, Move transitioned to offer services to ISPs that want to roll out over-the-top video services without investing in expensive cable infrastructure. Through the acquisition of Inuk Networks last year, it planned to offer broadcast TV services over broadband infrastructure. But sources say that the one big customer that Move had signed up to offer those services — Cable & Wireless — never got its project out of beta.
It’s not clear what the company’s next step is, who will be leading the firm, or what will happen to the remaining Move Networks assets. While Adobe and Microsoft have caught up to Move in terms of technology, the company still has a valuable portfolio of patents and other intellectual property that a buyer could find interesting.
Representatives from Move Networks were not immediately available for comment.
Update: We still haven’t heard back from anyone at Move, but VideoNuze and TDG Research are reporting that all remaining employees were let go. We will update this post with more news as it becomes available.
Update #2: Move Networks has confirmed that it “intends to retain a financial advisor to assist the Company in evaluating strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the Company.” It also confirmed that CEO Roxanne Austin is stepping down and that the company announced a reduction in its workforce to conserve cash on hand. Marcus Liassides, EVP of Sales and Business Development and former CEO of Inuk, will be promoted to President and oversee Move’s day-to-day operations.
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