In Hollywood, a name change can be critical. Hey, John Wayne's birth name was actually Marion Morrison. Somehow, without the change, movies such as True Grit, Rio Lobo, and Stagecoach would not have been the same.
A name change can also be important for companies, especially when they experience difficulties. WorldCom has become MCI, for example.
And, recently, we saw FindWhat.com change its name to MIVA
But it appears MIVA is doing more than changing its name. After a run of turmoil -- including accounting problems, a chief financial officer who bolted, an auditor leaving, and a falling stock price -- the Internet advertising company is engaging in a serious restructuring.
In fact, Monday the stock was up nicely, increasing 6.51% to $6.05. That is, the company announced it settled a patent infringement suit with Yahoo!
MIVA also announced its earnings. In the second quarter, revenues increased by 76% to $48.8 million, though the company posted a net loss of $4.08 per diluted share and took a whopping $119 million in non-cash charges for impairment (from acquisitions) and patent litigation.
The company generated $4.9 million in cash flow from operations in the second quarter; in all, it has $50 million in the bank.
MIVA posted large amounts of operating costs in the second quarter, from things such as rebranding, investing in algorithmic search technologies, patent litigation, and audit fees for Sarbanes-Oxley. Though many companies already have algorithms of similar sorts, this may well prove to be to the company's advantage. Rebranding efforts are commonly less effective; they're generally the work of companies lacking well-developed brands in the first place. According to MIVA's estimates, such costs will moderate over the next six months.
For 2005, MIVA expects revenues of $185 million to $200 million, which was up from the guidance of $175 million to $200 million.
No doubt, MIVA has built a solid product offering for online advertising. There is the MIVA ad network, which allows companies to advertise on a pay-per-click and even a pay-per-call basis. What's more, the company gives search portals and directories the ability to offer customers its own services under their brand name. MIVA also provides hosting and e-commerce services to companies.
Again, the problem -- as with many other mid-level players like Interchange
Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own the shares mentioned in this article.