The Financial Times reported on Thursday that Vonage, the scrappy start-up that offers voice over IP service, is up for sale. Previously, it was reported that the company was getting ready to raise $600 million in the public market.
According to the article, "UBS and Deutsche Bank, the investment banks chosen by Vonage to underwrite its stock market listing, have been suggesting that the company pursue a 'parallel process', according to people familiar with the matter. "
Selling the company could be a good idea, especially on the heels of the Ebay's $2.6 billion purchase of Skype, the company that makes software to enable free telephone calls over the Internet.
Acquisitions tend to happen in multiples, and VoIP is clearly hot right now. Some analysts say that Ebay paid too much for Skype. This is likely. It's still too early to tell.
But it's clear that the acquisition has created a buzz. And that's great for jacking up valuations for other start-ups in the same market looking to sell. Some analysts are speculating that Vonage, which just signed up its 1 millionth customer, could go for as much as $1 to $1.5 billion. Not as much as Skype, but not too shabby for a 2.5-year-old company.
Couple the high-price tag with headaches of running a public company, and investors may decide it's just easier to take the money and run. Who could blame them?