Thursday, May 15, 2008

Public Enemy

This week I finally got to visit Tinopolis, the group that owns Television Corporation, Video Arts, Sunset & Vine and Mentorn, amongst other brands. They're based in a small post industrial town in South Wales, so it's been great seeing them taking on the media world, but last week they joined a long list of media companies who have given up their public listing in the UK and gone private. My friends who started media company Incisive Media have been through a similar cycle.

The recession and liquidity situation mean that it's a particulalrly bad time to be public and very few media companies in the UK ever find a decent level of liquidity on the public markets. AIM seems to largely exist to furnish investment banking fees.

Which brings me to the company I founded and took public in the US, Narrowstep (NRWS). The company is currently trading at 4c; the shortcomings of the US management team who contrived to take control of this company was well documented by a former independent director, but the valuation is ludicrous for a company that has revenues above its market cap, excellent technology and a very good CDN.

The lesson for anyone involved in this industry seems to be to aim for a trade sale and ignore the public markets.

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