The Basch Report: ParkerVision curtails efforts to market Milo

Jacksonville-based company reported sales of $13,000 in the third quarter of the home Wi-Fi product.

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ParkerVision's in-home Wi-Fi product, Milo.
ParkerVision's in-home Wi-Fi product, Milo.
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A year after introducing its in-home Wi-Fi product called Milo, ParkerVision Inc. said last week it is cutting back marketing activity on the product, which is producing minimal sales.

Jacksonville-based ParkerVision, which has been developing wireless technology for nearly three decades but with few products to show for it, reported sales of just $13,000 in the third quarter and $128,000 for the first nine months of this year.

ParkerVision continues to pursue patent infringement lawsuits against several major wireless product manufacturers and while several legal actions are pending, the outcome of those are uncertain.

The struggling company said in August it was closing its second facility in Lake Mary, cutting 60 percent of its workforce, and reducing executive salaries. Those moves are expected to save $8 million a year but ParkerVision needed to cut even more expenses.

“As part of our cost reduction measures, we significantly curtailed the cost deployed towards marketing of our Milo product line,” Chief Financial Officer Cynthia Poehlman said in the company’s quarterly conference call.

“That decision was made as a result of our assessment that it’s in our best interest to focus resources on support of our patent enforcement program and the resulting litigations that are well underway,” CEO Jeff Parker said.

While the company is cutting back marketing activities, it is not abandoning Milo.

“As we head into the holiday season, we’re continuing to explore opportunities to promote and sell our Milo product,” Poehlman said.

Parker did not address Milo’s future in the conference call but in a news release announcing third-quarter results he said “we are exploring all opportunities to continue the Milo program as we believe Milo is a quality product that would be successful if resources were available for more aggressive promotion.”

ParkerVision has said Milo offers consumers superior in-home Wi-Fi performance compared to other routers on the market.

ParkerVision reported a net loss of $4.8 million, or 19 cents a share, for the quarter.

ParkerVision, which was founded in 1989, has lost money every year since its initial public offering in 1993.

Black Knight joins D&B partnership

Black Knight Inc. said Monday it will join Cannae Holdings Inc. and several other investment firms in a partnership that is buying business data firm Dun & Bradstreet.

Cannae announced in August it was leading a group that agreed to buy Dun & Bradstreet for $6.9 billion, including the assumption of debt.

Mortgage technology firm Black Knight and investment company Cannae both were spun off from Jacksonville-based title insurance company Fidelity National Financial Inc.

Bill Foley, who already serves as chairman of Fidelity, Black Knight and Cannae, intends to become executive chairman of Dun & Bradstreet when the sale is complete, which is expected in the first quarter of 2019.

Jacksonville-based Black Knight said Monday that its CEO, Anthony Jabbour, will become CEO of Dun & Bradstreet while continuing his role at Black Knight.

Black Knight said it will invest $375 million in Dun & Bradstreet, which will give it less than 20 percent of the company.

Cannae expects to own 25 percent once the deal is complete.

Other partners in the deal include investment firms CC Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

“We are pleased that Black Knight will invest alongside us in Dun & Bradstreet and that both Anthony and Bill will take on these new roles upon closing. We are confident that they are the right leaders to help unlock the significant potential within this venerable company,” CC Capital founder Chinh Chu said in a news release.

Dun & Bradstreet traces its roots to companies founded in New York in 1841 and Cincinnati in 1849 to provide credit information.

New York-based R.G Dun & Co. merged with the John M. Bradstreet Co. of Cincinnati in 1933 to become Dun & Bradstreet.

Shoe Carnival again beats forecast

Shoe Carnival Inc.’s stock jumped higher last Friday after reporting better-than-expected third quarter earnings.

The footwear chain controlled by former Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver reported earnings of 76 cents a share for the third quarter ended Nov. 3, 10 cents higher than last year and 15 cents higher than the average forecast of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

Zacks said Shoe Carnival has beaten forecasts four quarters in a row.

Shoe Carnival’s stock rose $4.52 at the opening last Friday to $41.61 after the report.

Comparable-store sales, or sales at stores open during the same 13-week period last year, rose 4.5 percent in the third quarter. However, because of a shift in the calendar that added a week to the fiscal year in 2017, total sales in the quarter fell 6.4 percent to $269.2 million.

In a news release, CEO Cliff Sifford said the comparable-store sales growth came “in all geographic regions and virtually all of our product categories.”

Evansville, Indiana-based Shoe Carnival operates 402 stores in 35 states and Puerto Rico.

Weaver is chairman of Shoe Carnival and his family is the company’s largest shareholder, controlling about 31 percent of the stock.

Acquisitions help Dick’s Wings owner

On Monday, ARC Group Inc. reported a net profit for the third quarter and a big increase in sales after completing an acquisition during the quarter.

Jacksonville-based ARC Group already operates the Dick’s Wings & Grill chain, which has 21 locations. 

In August, it completed the acquisition of Fat Patty’s, which has four locations in West Virginia and Kentucky.

The addition of Fat Patty’s helped ARC Group more than double third-quarter revenue to $2.45 million.

The company generated a net profit of $97,467, or 1 cent a share, reversing a small loss in the third quarter of 2017.

ARC Group also has agreed to acquire the Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery chain and expects to close that deal by the end of this year.

Once that sale is complete, the company expects annual revenue of more than $25 million.

Duos Technologies grows revenue

Duos Technologies Group Inc. reported third-quarter earnings of $632,625, or 3 cents a share, reversing a loss in the third quarter of 2017.

The Jacksonville-based provider of intelligent security analytical technology reported revenue of $5.1 million, up from $1 million in last year’s third quarter.

Duos said project revenue increased this year as a result of the company’s ongoing transition to new product offerings.

TIAA Bank acquires GE Capital portfolio

TIAA Bank said last week it acquired a $1.5 billion portfolio of health care equipment leases and loans from GE Capital.

Jacksonville-based TIAA Bank, which merged with EverBank last year, said the deal expands its commercial banking business and gives it access to more health care clients.

Terms of the deal were not announced.

Public company Q2Earth buys George B. Wittmer

Q2Earth Inc. completed the acquisition last week of Callahan-based George B. Wittmer Associates Inc., which provides waste management and compost manufacturing services for paper mills.

Palm Beach-based Q2Earth reported no revenue in the first nine months this year after selling off a business last year. It has been seeking acquisitions in the compost and soil industry.

Q2Earth, which acquired George B. Wittmer through an affiliate, agreed in July to pay $4.5 million for the company.

It said George B. Wittmer’s management and employees will remain with the company and operations will remain the same.

Q2Earth trades in the OTC market under the ticker symbol “QPWR.”



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