Roo to close Clifton Park operation

The Roo Group is scuttling its peer-to-peer digital media file sharing research and development arm
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The Roo Group is scuttling its peer-to-peer digital media file sharing research and development arm in Clifton Park — six months after the online video advertising firm acquired a pioneer in the p2p field in Saratoga Springs.

The New York-based Roo Monday announced a series of restructuring initiatives, including the closure of its Clifton Park office last week and the elimination of 10 positions there.

The restructuring, which has included the elimination of 43 jobs companywide and increased focus on international business, could save Roo $3.5 million in 2008.

“We are taking operational steps to improve the short-term performance of Roo Group by focusing on revenue-generating initiatives in our core business, while non-core activities are reducing our cost structure,” Roo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kaleil Tuzman said.

Roo in July acquired Wurld Media, which in 2005 launched the now defunct music and video file-sharing network called Peer Impact. Roo had hoped to use Wurld to accelerate its development of video p2p technology, which transfers large amounts of digital information by utilizing users’ computers.

In July, Roo bought Wurld for $3.2 million in cash and the issuance of 655,500 shares of Roo common stock.

Roo’s restructuring will distance the company from its p2p ambitions. Tuzman said Roo will outsource its p2p services instead of developing them internally.

The shuttering of the Roo Business Solutions in Clifton Park came a month after two Wurld executives were indicted by a Saratoga County grand jury of five felony charges, including grand larceny and falsifying business records. The charges against Wurld CEO and Chairman Gregory Kerber and Chief Financial Officer Richard Saxon allegedly stemmed from incidents related to the transfer of assets in the Roo-Wurld deal.

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