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Under pressure to sell itself, Vitesse plans $30M stock offering

By   /   Wednesday, June 19th, 2013  /   Comments Off on Under pressure to sell itself, Vitesse plans $30M stock offering

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Shares of Camarillo-based Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. were down 15 percent to $2.30 in mid-day trading June 19 as the company announced a public stock offering to raise up to $30 million.

The move comes as the company faces pressure from Columbia Pacific Advisors, an investment firm that owns nearly 10 percent of Vitesse, to sell itself in light of solid sales growth among a new set of products.

The new products are taking off, but the investors are concerned that they won’t grow fast enough to pay down the company’s debts, a $7.9 million loan that comes due in February 2014 and a $55.8 million loan due in October of that year.

They argue that the company would deliver better shareholder value by exploring a sale of the company and its new technologies.

Vitesse already raised $16.1 million in a stock offering in December. The company said it intends to use the net proceeds from the current offering for working capital and general corporate purposes. A portion of the net proceeds also may be used to repay or restructure its debts, the company said.

The $30 million figure would not include any exercise of a 15 percent over-allotment option to be granted to the underwriters. Needham & Company is acting as the sole bookrunning manager of the offering. The offering is expected to price after the close of trading today.

In early June, CEO Chris Garnder told the Business Times that the company was in transition from an older set of Sonnet-based technology products to new Ethernet-based products. Its revenue from those new products is expected to double this year, Gardner said.

“Last quarter, we hit the point where our new products grew faster than the old declined. We have turned the corner,” Gardner said. “We’ve gone through a pretty tough five years to turn the company. It takes a long time to deploy all your effort from one area to another.”

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