RealTime IT News

Is the Postage About Due at Stamps.com?

Shares of Stamps.com were off as much as 17 percent at one point today after Chairman and CEO John Payne stepped down and the company issued a statement that among other things said it would "explore ... strategic alternatives for the company."

Former U.S. Postmaster General Marvin Runyon was named interim chairman and the company, a provider of Internet mailing and shipping services, said a permanent replacement for Payne would be sought. The company also said Tom Bruggere has resigned as a director.

At mid-day the stock was trading at $2.62, down about 10 percent. Its 52-week high is $98.50. Just last week Stamps.com's president returned to his role as a board member and the chief financial officer and and comptroller bailed out.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs issued a report that said although the company is "leading in the online delivery of value-bearing documents, such as postage and tickets ... Stamps is losing cash; we will watch closely the rate and cost of acquiring customers to gauge its path to profitability."

Runyon did his best to put a finger in the dike, saying in a statement that "Stamps.com is well-positioned to continue its leadership role in the mailing and shipping market. We are confident of the viability of our long-term business model ... Our sound financial standing of $300 million of cash-on-hand provides us the resources to accomplish our business objectives..."

"We have a 70 percent share of the customers using Internet postage, and strong initiatives in enterprise and e-commerce areas," Runyon added.

Payne will remain on the Stamps.com board.

The company, which has never made any money, is being sued for patent infringement by mailing machines giant Pitney Bowes. The company has called the suit baseless. Stamps.com operates three business units focused on providing e-services allowing small businesses, large corporations and e-commerce companies to manage their mailing, shipping and returns operations.

The company's statement said: "The Executive Committee of the Board of Directors will immediately engage in a search for a new chief executive officer and chief financial officer, as well as explore other strategic alternatives for the company."