Mark Cuban Buys Stake in App Maker Vringo

By Beecher Tuttle April 16, 2012

Shares of video ringtone maker Vringo jumped 16 percent in after-hours trading on Friday after news broke that Dallas Mavericks owner and serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban made a significant investment in the company.

According to a disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Cuban purchased around 1 million shares in Vringo, making him the company's largest stockholder with a 7.4 percent stake, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Vringo, a New York-based developer of mobile video, personalization and social-application platforms, has yet to book a profit since going public in 2010 but has seen its stock price gradually increase throughout the year. As of close of business on Friday, shares had skyrocketed more than 200 percent since January, says The Street.

The company has made a number of headlines in 2012, highlighted by the March resignation of CEO Jonathan Medved, who was replaced by company president Andre Perlman. The switch was made public on the same day that Vringo announced its plans to merge with intellectual property firm Innovate/Protect.

Vringo tripled its revenue to $718,000 in 2011 but still booked a year-end net loss of around $7.5 million, down from $9.9 million in 2010. Possibly the most optimistic piece of news coming out of Vringo occurred in February, when the company announced that its hallmark Facetone app – used to generate slideshows from a user's Facebook profile – crossed the 1 million download threshold.

The SEC disclosure of Cuban's stock purchase comes just one week before Vringo is scheduled to announce its first quarter earnings. Cuban is far from the only investor targeting Vringo, however. More than 22 million Vringo shares changed hands on a day in early April, forcing the company to issue a press release saying that it had no comment on the recent gust of activity, according to The Street.

In addition to his investment in Vringo, Cuban recently purchased a major stake in social app maker Mention Mobile.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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