MobiTV pulls back IPO bid—but says it might try later

MobiTV has decided that "market conditions" aren't right for a planned IPO and has withdrawn it from consideration by the SEC, the company said in a letter to that body.

According to a story in GigaOM, MobiTV, which is transforming its business model from a mobile-dependent company that provides apps that let smartphone users watch TV into the TV Everywhere space, had hoped to raise up to $75 million from the IPO.

The SEC letter blamed "unfavorable market conditions" for withdrawing the IPO that was launched last August. At the same time, MobiTV left the door open for a future play by advising the Commission "that it may undertake a subsequent private offering."

The market for IPOs has been fickle recently. Facebook's notorious move into the public sector is being used as a poster child for how not to do it but GigaOm said another company, ServiceNow, saw its stock price rise 34 percent since its IPO last month. Still in limbo is how the market will treat an IPO from Kayak Software which is expected to happen sometime this week.

For the record, GigaOM noted that MobiTV has "never been profitable," having reported an $11.8 million loss last year on revenues that were up 27 percent to $85.1 million. The company's mobile model—from which it derived 97 percent of its 2011 revenues—runs head-to-head with Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) YouTube and Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX), among others, along with Aereo, which itself recently began making bigger waves in the space.

MobiTV last year began refocusing its efforts on more traditional MVPDs with a TV Everywhere package and in March trumpeted a collaboration with Amino to develop a next-generation TV Everywhere offering that integrated its technology platform—including MobiTV TV Everywhere Media Player and DRM solution—into an Amino set-top box to create "a secure, high-quality adaptive streaming experience while eliminating the need for managed networks."

The collaboration extended MobiTV's parameters at the same time it "extends the boundaries of the standard set-top box," said MobiTV CTO Kay Johansson in a March press release. "Our TV Everywhere solution, combined with Amino's award-winning technology, will provide customers a highly personalized experience on the television screen. Inside or outside the living room, our platform delivers a true multi-screen TV experience."

A MobiTV blog from NAB 2012 in April emphasized the company's planned transformation noting that it was "right at the epicenter" of show conversations "on both the event stage and show floor."

Johansson, again, played a part when she "shared our vision for consumers to access the content they care about anytime, anywhere with any screen … and discussed MobiTV's journey from blazing the trail for television on-the-go to our TV Everywhere solution bringing consumers live and on-demand programming inside and outside the home across set-top boxes, computers, tablets and smartphones."

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