Radical Communication Looking for a Buyer

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Rich media messaging software provider Radical Communication Inc., which offers the RadicalMail rich media e-mail service, has drastically curtailed its operations and will soon close up shop if a buyer is not found.


According to Jay Stevens, Radical Communication's director of marketing, the company is now operating with a skeleton staff of about a dozen people, down from about 51.


"There are a number of M&A [merger and acquisition] activities we are now pursuing," Stevens said. "We have a small transition team charged with finding a home for our technology and some of our executives."


Stevens said that while the company is talking with a number of possible suitors, he could not be more specific. He said "it's highly likely" the company, based in Marina del Rey, CA, will be bought and will be able to announce a deal in two to four weeks.


However, some industry observers wonder if the company will find a white knight at all. The company has been shopping itself around for a while, they said, and if anyone were going to buy Radical Communication, it would have happened by now.


Some observers worried that the failure of the company would reflect badly on the market for rich media e-mail as a whole.


Russ Gillam, president/CEO of Dynamics Direct, a Los Angeles-based provider of rich media e-mail services, said Radical Communication was recognized as the leader in rich media e-mail communications by virtue of their name recognition and their "first mover" status in the sector.


"There is no weakness in the industry," Gillam said. "The failure of RadicalMail was based on decisions their management made, not a problem with their technology. It's unfortunate RadicalMail went out of business because it shines a poor light on the industry."


Gillam also questioned the company's decision earlier this year to position itself as a provider of software toolkits and as an application service provider, rather than as a full-service messaging services firm.


"I questioned their strategic move into the toolkit supplier arena," he said. "They went at it from the perspective of repurposing video within an e-mail. The effective and reliable delivery of rich media into an e-mail client is complicated."


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