Vringo Shares Jump; Mark Cuban Acquires Hefty Stake
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Mark Cuban's magic touch continues.
The addition of the billionaire owner of the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks as a significant shareholder is sending shares of Vringo(VRNG) up significantly higher on Monday.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Cuban disclosed ownership of 1.03 million common shares, representing a 7.4% stake in Vringo, a New York City-based developer of mobile and social networking software applications, including video ringtones.
The stock soared 40%, or $1.23, to $4.27 in midday trades. Volume of 10.3 million was more than five times the issue's trailing three-month daily average of 2 million. Based on Friday's close at $3.04, the shares were already up more than 200% so far in 2012 with the majority of that appreciation coming since a March 30 close at $1.65.
There hasn't been a clear catalyst for the recent spike in Vringo, and the company was prompted to issue a press release on April 3 stating it had "no comment" on the unusual trading activity in its stock. That day, more than 22 million Vringo shares changed hands.
Vringo went public in June 2010 at $4.60 a share, and it lost $7.5 million in 2011 with revenue totaling $718,000, according to a Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 30. The company is expected to report its first-quarter results on April 23.
On Feb. 6, Vringo announced that it had reached 1 million downloads for its Facetone app, which works with Facebook to generate slideshows using pictures of a user's friends. Facebook agreed to acquire photo-sharing app developer Instagram for $1 billion last week. Based on Friday's close at $3.04, Vringo's market cap was around $57 million.
Vringo also announced in mid-March that it's agreed to merge with Innovate/Protect, an intellectual property-based company that owns the patent assets of search engine company Lycos. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter. Vringo named Andrew Perlman as its CEO when the transaction was announced, replacing Jonathan Medved.
Innovate/Protect is involved in patent litigation with a number of companies, including Google(GOOG) and AOL(AOL) , alleging that they are "unlawfully using systems that incorporate features claimed in two patents owned by I/P Engine," a unit of the company. The trial is expected to begin in mid-October, Vringo has said.
AOL shares recently soared after the company agreed to sell its patent portfolio to Microsoft(MSFT) .
--Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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