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Scoop: ON24 Goes for IPO

ON24, the California-based online video communications company, is preparing to file paperwork to go public, a senior source familiar with the company’s plans said.

Because ON24’s plans are still in the early stages, the source declined to say how much of the company would be sold, or at what price. ON24’s pending IPO announcement would reflect similarities to another online video communications company that ultimately did not go public—Skype, which was bought by Microsoft in a massive $8.5 billion transaction after announcing plans to list shares.

However, when asked for specifics, peHUB’s source said that ON24’s IPO plans were concrete and that the company is not looking to sell to a strategic buyer. Google and Facebook were reported by Reuters to have made inquiries into Skype for a deal. ON24 has not yet picked bookrunners, peHUB’s source said.

Over the last few years, ON24 has expanded its presence internationally, teaming with ITmedia Inc. in Japan and launching new offices in France and Germany. In an interview with the San Francisco Business Times last year, the company’s CEO, Sharat Sharan, said ON24’s revenue grew more than 20% from 2008 to 2009 to nearly $40 million. More recent figures were not available.

Sharan and ON24 did not comment for this story.

The company’s IPO plans might not come as a shock to industry insiders; earlier this year ON24 recruited a tech veteran well-versed in operating public and private companies alike, bringing Sybase co-founder Mark Hoffman onto its board (Sybase went public in 1991). A serial CEO, Hoffman still serves as chairman and CEO of Eightfold Logic and, until 2007, ran Everdream, a SaaS management provider that was bought by Dell.

ON24 has raised nearly $50 million, and its most recent fundraising was an $8 million equity and financing deal with US Venture Partners, Rho Ventures, Canaan Partners and Gold Hill Capital. The company was founded in 1998.