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Vitesse plans $23.2M stock offering

By   /   Thursday, June 12th, 2014  /   Comments Off

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Shares of Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. plummeted 11.3 percent on Thursday after the company revealed plans to raise $23.2 million by selling common stock.

The Camarillo-based chip design company said Thursday that the proceeds of the offering, a planned sale of 7.5 million shares at $3.35 each, would be used for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Vitesse shares have traded in the $2.23 to $4.69 range over the past 52 weeks and closed at $3.39 after news of the offering.

The planned raise would be Vitesse’s third stock offering in two years as it works to pay off debt. In June 2013, the company closed an offering of 18.7 million shares at a price of $2.15 for gross proceeds of $40.2 million. In December 2012, it announced an offering that netted $17.1 million.

The proceeds from the sales have gone toward paying off debt and growing a new line of business for Vitesse. The company still had $48.3 million in total debt on its balance sheet as of March 31, securities filings show, but that’s down from about $160 million when CEO Chris Gardner took the top executive position in 2006. The company had $48.2 million in cash at the end of March.

“It’s been a very good year,” Gardner told the Business Times in April. “In the technology business, particularly in the world of semiconductors, transitions like this one just take a long time. We’ve definitely seen the transition happening. Our new product revenues are growing nicely.”

Vitesse lost $22.1 million last year on $103.7 million in revenue. In 2012, it lost $1.1 million on $119.5 million in revenue.

But the company is betting on a turnaround this year. It has said it expects to see $55 million from new products and expects to reach operating profitability by the end of its current fiscal year. Its latest technology represents a jump into the so-called Internet of things, which is the concept that many electronic devices in daily life — whether it’s a thermostat, a refrigerator or a car — will be able to talk to one another the same way that computers, phones and tablets do today.

Vitesse’s target companies are ones that move around a lot of data over short to medium distances, mostly outside data center environments.

Needham & Co. is acting as sole book-running manager and Craig-Hallum Capital Group, the Benchmark Co. and Northland Securities will act as co-managers for the offering.

Vitesse shares closed down more than 11 percent to $3.39 on Thursday.

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