Thursday, March 29, 2007

Vonage Quad Play

First, there was the VZ Patent litigation that has made for an interesting couple of weeks. Next was the 6 investor lawsuits waiting in federal court. Next, according to Light Reading, "Vonage got more legal trouble on Monday, when a consumer class action suit was filed in U.S. District Court in California. The suit claims Vonage misled consumers about the quality and reliability of its VOIP service, and engaged in false advertising and deceptive business practices. The suit claims that Vonage provides doesn't set-up and support its customers as promised, and that the company makes cancelling the service a costly choice." And the topper (from the, "As if this weren't enough, Vonage is also preparing to fight another patent suit against Sprint Nextel, with a trial slated for September." That's the Quad Play in court play - Sprint, VZ, Investors , and Consumers.

More from the "It's true that Vonage's market cap is selling below its $544 million cash hoard, and that the company nearly doubled revenues in its fiscal-fourth quarter. Nonetheless, the chances of a buyout here look slim. Vonage posted a net loss of $286 million last year, and its litigation exposure is extremely difficult to quantify." So they DO have $500M in the bank.

The extra twist in the Vonage saga comes from "What Barzilay doesn't doubt is the possibility of Verizon taking over Vonage. He said there has been some speculation of a merger that would end the battle between the two high-profile companies. Vonage still has a larger share of the VoIP market than Verizon, but Verizon has intellectual property that powers Vonage." [Ilan Barzilay is a patent litigator at Wolf Greenfield in Boston.]

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