Brightcove glitters on debut; competition worries

Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:38pm EST

(Reuters) - Online video publisher Brightcove Inc's (BCOV.O) shares got off to a flying start on their debut, rising as much as 43 percent, continuing the tech sector's strong run in the IPO market.

The company's shares closed at $14.30 on the Nasdaq, 30 percent above the IPO price, valuing the company at $377.2 million. More than 4.3 million Brightcove shares changed hands on the first day.

Investors have lapped up shares of most companies across sectors that debuted earlier this month such as EPAM Systems (EPAM.N), Roundy's Parent (RNDY.N), Caesars Entertainment (CZR.O) and FX Alliance FX.N.

Started in 2004, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Brightcove provides cloud-based solutions to clients to help them publish and distribute videos and other digital media.

"Companies that are cloud related are like last year's social media stocks. They (Brightcove) have attractive customer pricing and it is hard for a customer to change because they are committed to the technology," said IPO Desktop analyst Francis Gaskins.

Despite the glitzy start, some analysts remain cautious on the company's long-term prospects.

"Investors are overlooking the fundamentals and even the competitive threats. (They) just buy because the last IPO did well and the market is hot," Josef Schuster, founder of IPOX Schuster, a fund that specializes in investing in newly public companies, said.

Brightcove has incurred a loss each year since it began operating.

It posted a consolidated net loss of $17.3 million for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011, and expects to continue to incur operating losses on an annual basis through at least the end of 2012, according to a regulatory filing.

Brightcove, which named only Google's (GOOG.O) YouTube as its rival in the filing, also competes with Ooyala, IAC's (IACI.O) Vimeo and Comcast's (CMCSA.O) thePlatform for a share in the fast-growing video cloud sector.

At its opening price on Friday morning, the company is valued at about $382.8 million.

Brightcove's principal stockholders include Accel Partners that holds about 11 percent stake in social media behemoth Facebook Inc, which filed with U.S. regulators to go public earlier this month.

Brightcove's venture capital backers Accel and General Catalyst Partners will each hold 21.4 percent of the company after the offering.

Palo Alto, California-based Accel's affiliates have a stake in daily deals company Groupon Inc (GRPN.O) and have also backed Rovio, the Finnish developer of the Angry Birds smartphone game.

Brightcove's Chief Executive Jeremy Allaire, who co-founded the company, worked as Chief Technology Officer of Macromedia after its merger with Allere Corp. Macromedia was bought by Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O) in 2005.

As of December 31, 2011, the company had 3,872 customers in more than 50 countries. They include BBC Worldwide, The New York Times Co, The Financial Times, Bank of America, General Motors and Sears.

(Reporting by Sharanya Hrishikesh and Ashutosh Pandey in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Sreejiraj Eluvangal)

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