It has been a riches to rags story for investors in the OnMobile Global stock. Hitting the markets in February 2008, just as the market crash began, the IPO managed surprisingly good response. The company’s business of offering applications such as ring-back tones, caller tunes, missed call alerts and so on to telecom companies went down well with institutional investors, who queued up for the offer.

But with the great Indian telecom story beginning to give way, first to tariff wars and then to regulatory issues, it was downhill thereafter for OnMobile. The tariff wars which resulted from the entry of new operators saw value-added services losing their charm for operators. Regulatory activism, such as the cap on the number of SMS' that could be sent, also played their part in clouding prospects for players such as OnMobile.

OnMobile fought back by turning its attention overseas, but the markets never seemed to fancy this expansion and the stock was relentlessly beaten down. In fact, when mobile service companies went out of favour, OnMobile lost outright along with them.

Governance issues have been a red flag for markets in recent times and with the company’s top management embroiled in allegations of misappropriating funds, the stock has been mercilessly battered in recent weeks.

(This article was published on July 21, 2012)
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