RealNetworks Separates Games, RealPlayer, SaaS Units
The plan to resurrect RealNetworks continues. In a filing with federal regulators, the Seattle company (NASDAQ: RNWK) says it will now operate three of its divisions as separate business units, a move that could set any of those branches up for a spin-off.
The change affects the company’s RealPlayer media streaming business, its software-as-a-service arm, and the GameHouse games division. Real reports that the move will include shifting some back-office and corporate functions to each of those separate units, and is intended in part to “increase accountability for financial and operational performance within each business.”
GameHouse has been here before. Previous management groups have looked into spinning the video-games unit out of the company before, but the plans never came together.
RealNetworks also reported that it had offloaded some mobile-carrier service contracts to Livewire Mobile, saving about $10 million per year.
The changes are part of founder and interim CEO Rob Glaser’s plan to turn RealNetworks around. Glaser re-assumed the chief’s position earlier this year after a remarkably short tour of duty from Thomas Nielsen, who was also supposed to be leading a turnaround—just like his own predecessor, Bob Kimball.
Glaser announced at the end of August that RealNetworks was cutting up to 160 jobs, a move that the company now says will save it about $19 million annually.