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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

February 3, 2009 at 9:37 AM

RealNetworks announces big write-down, freezes games IPO, cuts staff

RealNetworks is preannouncing big charges it’s going take against its Q4 earnings and a few changes:


It’s warning investors today that it’s taking $227 million to $249 million in charges, largely due to declining value of goodwill and assets. The full earnings report will come on Feb. 12 as scheduled.
Real’s also freezing plans to spin off its games business and take it public as a standalone company, halting work on the project and talks with advisors on the IPO.
But it will only require the company to draw about $4 million to $5 million of its cash, which totaled $370 million at the end of 2008.
Quarterly sales are still expected to be within the forecasted range of $151 million to $153 million, the company said in an SEC filing this morning.
RNWK fell about 4 percent to $2.94 in the morning after the announcement but rebounded a bit to close at $2.99, down 2 percent.
They weren’t specified in the SEC filing, but yesterday Real also underwent another round of layoffs. Following the December cuts of 130 positions, it cut about 20 more jobs in its music business in Seattle and San Francisco. It now employs about 1,700.
Here are the charges outlined in the SEC filing:
– A non-cash charge of $185 million to $200 million to reflect the impairment of goodwill and acquired intangible assets.
РRestructuring charges of approximately $6 million to reflect a reduction in force in the fourth quarter and the write-off of the capitalized transaction-related costs associated with the company’s plan to separate its games business from the parent company. While Real still intends to create a separate games company, there is no visibility as to when conditions will support separation. As a result, the company has postponed work with outside advisors, has stopped external spending on the transaction and will write off the capitalized costs in the fourth quarter.
– A charge of approximately $20 million to write off certain deferred project costs and pre-paid royalties, which will result in a reduction to fourth quarter gross margins.
– A non-cash charge of $16 million to $23 million to reflect an increase in the valuation allowance for deferred tax assets, net of the tax benefit related to the above mentioned items.

Comments | Topics: Digital media, RealNetworks, Tech work

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