MobiTV Boosts Product Line, Plans to Revisit IPO Market in 2013

MobiTV, the software maker that pulled its initial public offering last week, is adding technology that lets users record programs on the go and plans to revisit the IPO market early next year.

The company cited “unfavorable market conditions” in withdrawing its prospectus on July 13. Chief Executive Officer Charles Nooney said yesterday that MobiTV has plenty of capital to invest in the business and is expanding its offerings for TV in the home as well as on smartphones and tablets.

“For us, the markets were too choppy,” Nooney said in an interview. “To be going out after the first of the year and examine the market with a couple announcements under our belt was certainly part of the consideration.”

As of Dec. 31, Emeryville, California-based MobiTV had cash, equivalents and short-term investments of $25.4 million, and Nooney said the company will be profitable by the end of this year after recording an $11.8 million loss in 2011. While he doesn’t expect to need additional cash, the private equity markets are “pretty wide open” should an opportunity arise that brings strategic value, he said.

MobiTV, which started as a provider of technology for carriers to deliver live television on mobile phones, has more recently focused on a service called “TV everywhere.” In January, the company announced a partnership with Deutsche Telekom that allowed the German phone company to deliver content to phones, tablets, computers and set-top boxes. Nooney said other partnerships will be announced this year, including one in Asia.

To expand the product portfolio, MobiTV said yesterday that it will be licensing digital video recorder technology so cable providers, satellite companies and wireless carriers can let users record shows from any device, pausing on one and picking up on any other.

“The world is changing,” Nooney said. “To really play in the space, you have to get multiple screens.”

Last year, 97 percent of MobiTV’s revenue came from Sprint Nextel, Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile USA unit, AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Live mobile television has proven to be a challenging market, because consumers can access free on-demand services such as Google’s YouTube and subscription offerings from Netflix and Amazon.com.

As MobiTV pulls away from the public markets, other technology companies are going forward. Business software maker ServiceNow has jumped 33 percent since its IPO last month, and Palo Alto Networks and Kayak Software debuted today. Companies are expected to raise more than $700 million this week as the market recovers from a drought after Facebook’s offering in May.

For MobiTV, the concern surrounding the European debt crisis and uncertainty around the U.S. presidential elections are more significant, Nooney said. Because his company has cash, almost no debt and is coming off a year of 27 percent sales growth, he’d prefer to wait.

“The company is extremely healthy, we have resources in the bank and we’re virtually debt-free,” he said.

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