Nearly 25 years after streaming media pioneer RealNetworks went public in one of the hottest IPOs of the dot-com era, the company’s founder and CEO wants take the Seattle-based company private and become its sole owner.
The unsolicited bid, announced Monday morning, would have Rob Glaser acquire the 62% of RealNetworks not currently owned by him or his affiliates, at a price of 67 cents per share.
That amounts to $19.7 million, valuing the company at $31.7 million overall.
The move comes as RealNetworks faces the looming threat of delisting from the NASDAQ for not maintaining a stock price of more than $1 per share. RealNetworks has until August to comply with the minimum bid price requirement, according to a February filing by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
RealNetworks stock closed Friday at 46 cents per share, and is trading around 53 cents per share Monday morning following the announcement Glaser’s offer.
Two independent board members, Erik Prusch and Bruce Jaffe, will form a special committee “to carefully review and evaluate Mr. Glaser’s proposal and other available alternatives,” retaining independent financial and legal advisors for the purpose, the company said in a statement.
“RealNetworks does not intend to disclose developments regarding this process unless and until the Special Committee and RealNetworks’ board of directors have approved a specific transaction or otherwise concluded its review of strategic alternatives,” the company said.
In recent years, RealNetworks has expanded into artificial intelligence technology, including its SAFR computer vision and facial recognition products.
The company in March announced a building access control device, SAFR SCAN, that uses its facial recognition technology, the first end-to-end hardware product developed by the company.
RealNetworks is also in the casual games business under the GameHouse and Zylom brands; sells services to mobile carriers and device makers; and continues to develop and offer its RealPlayer media software.
Announcing its first quarter results last week, RealNetworks said its revenue declined to $13.4 million, from $15.9 million a year earlier, and its net loss was cut in half to $5.2 million.