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RGB CEO: Envivio's IPO Jumped the Gun

RGB Networks Inc. Chairman and CEO Jef Graham has a new punching bag: Envivio Inc. (NASDAQ: ENVI).

His old one was BigBand Networks Inc., RGB's former video gear and software rival that went public in March 2007 and stumbled through a rough patch when it had a hard time maintaining growth and predicting revenues. Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) bought BigBand in 2011. (See BigBand IPO: Boing!, BigBand Looks to Resolve BigProblems and Arris Snaps Up BigBand .)

Envivio's in a similar situation now. After going public in April, Envivio had to tweak its revenue guidance in its second and third quarters, and its shares have taken a beating because of it. After getting a nice win at Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and a piece of Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC)'s multi-screen business, Envivio's had trouble repeating the feat with other tier 1 U.S. cable operators while seeing service providers in Europe tighten their belts. (See Rough Times Continue at Envivio and Envivio Shares Fall More Than 50% in 3 Hours.)

Graham thought BigBand was not ready to go public when it did because he believed its business was not predictable enough, and his opinion of Envivo is the same. But Graham insists he's not just piling on because a competitor is having a tough time. He says Envivio's woes rub off on others in the multi-screen encoding and packaging sector.

"It's not good for [Envivo], and it's not good for me. It creates a bad smell around the market," Graham says. "It makes IPO'ing hard for all of us."

RGB, which has financial backing from Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), has had IPO aspirations for years but has so far failed to pull the trigger. One big barrier has been predictability. "This quarter [the fourth quarter] was predictable; the last one was horrible," Graham said, referring to the fourth quarter of 2011. "I don't want to have a public company when I can't entirely predict what will happen." (See RGB Relights Its IPO Fire .)

So, when will that be? "Perhaps next year, but it's not there yet. It has to be consistent," he said.

RGB is private and therefore does not report earnings, but Graham says RGB is on track for $15 million to $16 million in revenues in the fourth quarter, which would be up from $9.5 million a year ago. RGB, founded in 2003, has shipped $290 million in product during its lifetime and will pass the $300 million mark in January, Graham says.

In the meantime, he's poached another exec from Envivio as RGB looks to expand its international business: Scott Pranger, who is on board as VP of global channels. (See RGB Hires Sales Channel VP and RGB Raids Envivio .)

Graham hopes the move will help RGB take advantage of the buying habits of European and Asian service providers. While North American operators tend to buy point products from vendors (Comcast, Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) and Cox Communications Inc. are among RGB's customers), many in Europe and Asia typically go with system integrators, which is why RGB is eager to expand its channels strategy.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 1/10/2013 | 4:00:17 AM
re: RGB CEO: Envivio's IPO Jumped the Gun

Jef Graham continues to preach patience, so long as RGB's investors remain patient. But if those backers get anxious for an exit and it isn't going to come in the form of an IPO, I still wonder if M&A will be the answer if they can get the right price. JB

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