Logitech Considers Selling LifeSize Video Conferencing Unit

After another poor financial quarter, Logitech executives are looking to shed some businesses, and LifeSize could be among those sent packing.

Logitech executives will decide in the next three months whether to sell off its LifeSize Communications video collaboration unit, which is struggling to compete in a market that includes such heavyweights as Cisco Systems and Polycom.

In an interview with Reuters after announcing the company’s most recent quarterly financial numbers, Bracken Darell—who became Logitech’s CEO Jan. 1 after joining the company a year ago—said the LifeSize business was strong in the small and midsize business space, but that he and other Logitech officials would need to decide whether it would be better to keep it or sell it off.

"This is such a tough market, and that's the biggest driver of the impairment," Darrell told Reuters. "It's not an easy decision. Is this an asset that makes more sense for us to own or for someone else to own?"

The decision will come after a difficult quarter for Logitech. In the company’s fiscal year 2013 third quarter, Logitech saw revenues fall 14 percent—to $615 million—over the same period the year before, and losses of $195 million. In the same period in 2011, the company made $55 million.

Officials with the company, who announced the quarterly earning numbers Jan. 24, said the primary culprit in the poor showing was the declining worldwide sales of PCs as consumers turn more of their attention and technology dollars to tablets and smartphones. Logitech sells such PC-related peripherals as mice, webcams and keyboards, among other products, and Darrell said the company will look to build up its portfolio of tablet accessories.

In prepared statements released with the earnings results, Darrell said that despite the falling PC sales globally, the company’s financial numbers were “unacceptable” and that executives “are taking immediate actions to shape a faster and more profitable Logitech.”

One of those steps could be selling off the LifeSize business, which saw sales drop 4 percent in the quarter and faces growing competition in a video-conferencing market that itself is undergoing a painful transformation. Logitech’s $440 million video conferencing business includes not only LifeSize, but other units, such as Sightspeed, Paradial and Mirial.

However, LifeSize is the most prominent of the units, and the slowdown in sales led the company to announce that it was taking a $211 million charge for the FY 2013 third quarter.