Things were different a few years ago.
In 2020, one of Vancouver tech’s most successful female entrepreneurs, Shahrzad Rafati, was preparing to take her darling BroadbandTV public on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Her aim then? To buy out German media giant Bertelsmann, which had acquired a controlling interest of BBTV from Rafati in 2013 for $36 million.
Founded in 2005, BBTV provides end-to-end content solutions for independent creators and media companies to grow online.
Since launch, BBTV also grew massively itself: While Rafati—Business Woman of the Year in 2020—was eying the public markets, comScore ranked BBTV the second largest video property in the world based on unique viewers.
By the end of 2020, BBTV was listed as a public stock trading for $16 per share. Immediately, Rafati signed a slew of deals with content partners, and in 2021, BBTV tapped into the emerging NFT space.
Rafati had achieved her goal: post-IPO, she accounted for 34% of the total equity shares of the company and represented approximately 83% of the total voting power.
But since then, success has been hard to come by. After going public in 2020, the value of BBTV’s stock has plummeted an astounding 98%.
Now, Rafati wants to reverse course. The chief executive is looking to buy back her company and take it private once again.
Following a recommendation from an independent committee of BBTV’s board of directors, Rafati will re-acquire her company—today worth about $5 million, down from a high of more than $300 million.
John Kim, Chair of the Special Committee, says the decision came after a “comprehensive process and careful deliberation supported by external professional advisors.”
“The Transaction represents the best available path forward for the Company, its shareholders, debenture-holders, employees, creators and other stakeholders,” Kim said in an official statement. “The benefits to BBTV of being a public company have diminished substantially.”
The transaction will provide immediate liquidity to shareholders, according to Kim, as well as eliminate the financial and administrative burden to the Company of continuing as a reporting issuer, providing the Company with flexibility to operate as a private business.”