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Vitesse Announces Result of Investigation

Vitesse LogoVitesse (VTSS.PK) announced the results of the review by the Board of Directors into stock option backdating and revenue recognition issues. I found the release lacking in new information, and I expected to see more information about the implication of several disclosures.

The shock and awe portion of the release were the 9 accounting sins committed by the company. I will not list them here, read the release.

The conference call in July provided a preview that prepared investors for this fact. Of greater concern to me was the lack of an explanation of what the future plans were for Vitesse.

In particular, the lack of audited results from FY04/FY05 now and forever leaves a big void with respect to the future intent of the company. Investors need to know what the companies objective is with respect to relisting on the Nasdaq. When can this be anticipated, or as one astute reader points out, are we looking at a future similar to Riverstone Networks? (Lightreading link)

I provided a more extensive and private opinion directly to the company, but this summarizes what I feel needs to be done.

  1. Make a clear and concise statement on what the plan is as a result of not having 2004/5 financials. What operating model will the company seek?
  2. Provide a release timeline for FY06 results based on what is known today. Previously, the company expected to release these by end of year. Now, it is indeterminate.
  3. Provide timeline for the independent operation of the company. When are the consultants (and expense) gone and when do the new auditors come on-line.

It may be that my expectations for an immediate plan following the release of the report are unrealistic. If so, a date should be provided to investors when a go forward plan addressing the above issues will be available.

Such a plan will allow investors to benchmark the ability of management to manage the crisis to a conclusion.

I have other, stronger opinions about the board, but the reality is that management has little control over the makeup of board. It is up to the investment community to catalyze change there.

Full Disclosure: I am long Vitesse

Discussion

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  1. Having just left the company, I’m surely biased, but the situation looks pretty bleak. I think that not providing an expectation as to when (if) 2006 numbers will become available is especially telling given that they’ve been peeling back the onion for more than six months now.

    Given the debt and the accounting morass, it seems that that the whole is now less than the sum of its parts.

    As a sidenote:
    I wonder if Elliot Spitzer’s departure from the AG’s office improves L, G & Y’s chance of avoiding criminal prosecution.

    m@

    Posted by m@ | December 20, 2006, 9:14 PM
  2. I don’t think they can afford to restate FY04 and FY 05. Given their cash position, it is more prudent to focus on ongoing operations and to finish the cleaning when they are financially sound.

    Posted by yf | December 20, 2006, 9:17 PM
  3. Given the debt and the accounting morass, it seems that that the whole is now less than the sum of its parts.

    Which is exactly why I own it.

    Posted by Andrew Schmitt | December 20, 2006, 9:57 PM
  4. Does anyone know how VTSS’s inability to file 2004/2005 statements affects their efforts to get relisted?

    Posted by m@ | December 21, 2006, 11:25 AM
  5. So now that VTSS won’t be relisted until 2008 or after, what happens to stock price?

    Posted by Ed Draker | December 27, 2006, 1:51 PM