RealTime IT News

Juno Gets $125 Million in Funding

The past few months have been trying for ISP Juno Online Services Inc., but things looked a little brighter for the company Friday as it secured an equity financing commitment to draw as much as $125 million over two years.

A private investment fund will provide the financing in the form of an equity line facility. Juno would have the right to issue common stock to the fund in a series of drawdowns. The price would equal 94 percent of the volume-weighted average price of Juno's common shares for that day, provided the price is greater than $2.50 per share.

Aside from volume and price limitations, Juno will have control of the timing and frequency of the sales. It has no obligation to draw down any minimum amount or number of times, though the fund has stipulated that the facility may be terminated if no drawdowns occur for four consecutive months.

Juno said any common stock issued to the fund pursuant to the facility will not be registered under the Securities Act of 1933, and the stock may not be offered or sold in the U.S. without registration or exemption from registration requirements. However, the company said that before any sale of shares to the fund through the facility, it will register the securities for resale.

Juno plans to file a registration statement for the facility with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the next 45 days. The company will not be able to draw down funds until the SEC has approved the registration.

Juno which provides both free and premium dial-up services -- and relies on advertising for much of its revenue -- has been suffering widening losses as investors are beginning to demand solid business plans that display a clear path to profitability. In August it reported a net loss of $42.8 million -- $1.11 per share -- compared to a loss of $17.3 million in the same quarter a year ago.

But it's not quite so gloomy for Juno. The company has been aggressively making deals -- including deals with high profile players like IBM and Time Warner. On Thursday it inked a deal with Barnes & Noble Inc. unit Babbage's Etc. IBM will be bundling Juno's service with its personal computers, but the deal with Time Warner may be even more significant.

The Time Warner alliance made Juno the first outside ISP to win a carrier contract with the cable company as it moves towards its merger with ISP industry dominator America Online Inc. Juno is seeking to migrate its free dial-up customers to billable premium dial-up service, and its premium customers to broadband. Even broadband customers have the option of moving to mobile wireless broadband. As part of its crusade to convert dial-up customers to broadband, the company has been aggressively rolling out DSL service. On Sept. 12, it added service to 39 new markets, giving it 63 in total.

Juno stock rose 5.4 percent to $2.43 from an open of $2.31 in late morning trading Friday. However, that's still a long way from its 52-week high of $87 per share.