UK video-on-demand (VoD) pioneer Yes Television is to seek private finance having today called a halt to its London stockmarket flotation for the second time.
Earlier this month Yes TV cut its planned sale price from 225p-275p a share to just 175p in an effort to get the float away in the currently volatile conditions for technology, media and telecoms companies. But it seems that as a small company in a fast-changing sector it may have been trying to raise too much. Even at the reduced price the company was seeking a valuation of $840m and was seeking fresh cash of $225m. It is not clear whether Buena Vista and Warner Bros International Television will retain their minority stakes in Yes or whether they will provide some of the cash now being sought from investors.
Yes' float was also hampered by rumours - also confirmed today - of a split with Kingston Communications, its partner of long date. Kingston now plans to form an alliance with Colt Telecom and share the construction of a national fibre-optic network in order to become a UK-wide telecoms and digital TV provider. It will replace Yes as its VoD supplier, but has yet to name the successor. Yes is owned by management, employees and private investors.
Yes needs cash to roll out its services nationwide from its limited home market, the northern English town of Kingston-upon-Hull, and to buy in programming. It says it has free cash resources of some $60m.
Yes has been running pilot services in Cardiff over cable networks controlled by NTL. And next month it will begin a national roll-out of VoD via British Telecom's DSL phone lines under a joint venture BT Yes Television. Yes claims that this makes it the first company in Europe capable of delivering VoD services on different platforms.