RealNetworks, maker of facial recognition software, said on Thursday it has agreed to be taken private by its Founder and CEO Robert Glaser.
The streaming media pioneer faced the threat of delisting from the Nasdaq for not maintaining a stock price of more than $1 per share. Trading in shares of Seattle-based RealNetworks was halted Thursday before the market opened.
The deal values the company at about $34.5 million. Glaser and his affiliate, Greater Heights, currently own about 39% of RealNetworks' outstanding shares, according to a press release.
Glaser and his affiliate will pay 73 cents apiece for the rest of the company. The deal rests on majority approval of shareholders other than Glaser.
The deal represents a 55% premium to the company's closing stock price of 58 cents on May 6, the last trading day prior to the announcement of Glaser's buyout proposal. RealNetworks said it expects the deal to close by the end of the year.
The company’s SAFR facial recognition software is a centerpiece to RealNetworks’ overall strategic growth initiative to leverage its artificial intelligence (AI) capability and digital media to expand the business.
In March, the company announced a touchless integrated hardware-software access control device, SAFR SCAN, that uses its facial recognition technology, the first end-to-end hardware product developed by the company.
Earlier this month, Real Networks appointed Paul DiPeso to the newly created position of president of SAFR. He was most recently executive vice president and general manager of Feenics, an Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) software solutions company that was acquired by ACRE at the end of 2021.
"I founded RealNetworks 28 years ago because I believed that the Internet represented a once-in-a-generation transformational opportunity for digital media," Glaser said in the announcement. "I believe that machine learning-based artificial intelligence represents a similar transformational opportunity today, albeit one that will also take time and resources to fully realize. I'm happy that the RealNetworks Board and I could reach agreement on a path to pursue that transformation with focus, efficiency, and speed by turning Real back into a private company, and in a way that is fair to all shareholders."