Don't Pick Up the Soapstone
5:50 PM -- It's official: Soapstone Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SOAP) shareholders voted today to shut down the company. (See Soapstone Votes to Liquidate.)
Soapstone started the liquidation process in June, saying it couldn't come up with any deals or asset sales that were satisfactory. (See Soapstone Washes Out.)
Soapstone will pay a $3.75 per share dividend tomorrow, as previously announced. (Shares traded flat today at $4.19, and they've been around that level since the announcement.) The company will file its liquidation papers in Delaware on July 31.
A few more details can be found in today's 8-K filed with the SEC. Most of the board will resign on that day, including William Leighton, who will also step down as president and CEO. Left behind to finish mopping things up will be CFO William Stuart, who will take over as president, and Michael Cayer, its general counsel. They'll be the Soapstone board, essentially.
Soapstone was an underdog from the start. Even as a known quantity, it was going to have to wrestle with the slow process of qualification at big carriers. The recession certainly didn't help. And it seems to me (and one source from outside Soapstone agrees) that while Soapstone wasn't entirely wrapped up in PBB-TE (Provider Backbone Bridging - Traffic Engineering), the stall in that technology's ascent was a contributing factor, too. (See PBT Sidelined at BT and Verizon Also Shunning PBT.)
Credit Soapstone for going down swinging. But I think most of us will remember the company more for the Avici days and the old terabit router crop circa 1999. Soapstone gave up on the router some time ago, but today seems like the final knell for those times.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading