NEW YORK, NY , Dec. 13, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- RealBiz Media Group, Inc. (RBIZ) currently operating as Verus Foods (“Verus” or the “Company”) is providing the following interim update in advance of its fiscal year-end report.
Effective December 15, 2017, Mark Lindsey resigned as Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) of the Company. Mr. Lindsey’s resignation was not the result from any disagreement with the Company, any matter related to the Company’s operations, policies or practices, the Company’s management or the Board. As a result, the Company has named industry veteran Piyush Munot as interim CFO. Mr. Munot, who is a U.S.-accredited CPA, has an extensive background uniquely suited to building Verus’s international business. As a former KMPG professional and senior auditor, he was involved in a full range of financial activities with companies throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council (“GCC”) countries. Most recently, he served as a Group Controller at Al Dahra Holding, a major food and agricultural firm in the region.
“I recommended to Anshu that he should establish a stronger presence in Dubai where financial controls are most critical at this stage in the company’s business cycle,” explained Mr. Lindsey. “I helped hire Piyush and have suggested that the Company use an interim CFO based in the region until growth necessitates a full-time CFO in Maryland. It is unfortunate that continued delays have prevented the Company from growing at a pace that would warrant my ability to stay, but I believe this new, more cost-effective structure will be better suited for Verus at this early stage. The Company should be in very capable hands with Piyush onboard.”
“We greatly appreciate Mark’s advice and role in helping to transition from a high level corporate CFO, to a regional CFO concept that will give us better control in the field,” explained Verus CEO Anshu Bhatnagar. “In his short time here, Mark helped improve the accounting framework to support our future growth, so his input has been greatly appreciated.”
Furthermore, the Company is unhappy to report additional interference from former CEO Alex Aliksanyan, who has filed a motion for contempt based upon appointment of directors Michael O'Gorman, Thomas Butler Fore, and Lalit Lal on August 10, 2017. In his filing, Mr. Aliksanyan is seeking a court order that would remove the directors based upon his interpretation of prior agreements. The reasons behind this action to remove the independent board are unrelated to any current operations at Verus. Mr. Aliksanyan stated, through counsel, that he does not want future board actions to interfere with the spin off. The Company will update shareholders as information becomes available.
Uncomfortable with the current risk profile as a board member, Lalit Lal has decided to step down from the board, but has agreed to explore an expanded operational role at Verus as the Company grows. In the meantime, he will remain a valuable resource, with connections throughout the international food industry.
In terms of the separation of the Verus food division and the NestBuilder real estate division, Mr. Aliksanyan must file a Form 10 spin-off request with the SEC by December 26, 2017. The actual separation of the two entities will take effect after an SEC review.
As an operational update, Verus is pleased to announce that it has issued the first purchase order under its new Disney-branded juice contract and expects to have product on retailers’ shelves by Christmas. In addition, financing talks continue to progress with working capital sources, but in the interim, Verus has arranged some favorable vendor terms that will enable it to increase shipments modestly without additional capital. The Company is exploring other similar arrangements to stimulate growth in advance of receiving traditional sources of working capital.
“When we began this process, we had no idea that the legacy issues at RealBiz would combine to handicap our growth so severely during our first year in business,” said Verus CEO Anshu Bhatnagar. “We are nearing the one-year anniversary of announcing the food division, but have been essentially held hostage by these legacy issues and ongoing litigation. It is easy to understand our extreme frustration when the Verus food division, with more than $100 million in verified orders, is being stalled by activities tied to a real estate division that barely generated $100,000 in sales last quarter.”
“Still, there is some light at the end of this long tunnel,” said CEO Anshu Bhatnagar. “We have actionable dates ahead of us that will resolve the final remaining issues with RBIZ and free us from the debilitating hold of this unfortunate experience. In addition to the spin-off deadline, the real estate division also has January and March court dates with Monaker Group that should lead to a final resolution. Looking backwards, it is easy to see a trail of lost opportunity as the only outcome for a year of frustration and struggle, but we prefer to look forward. Nothing has changed in our outlook that Verus can become a great growth story once it can operate with true independence – and that time is rapidly approaching.”
As a reminder, following the spin-off, shareholders will receive shares in both companies, with the surviving public entity trading under the Verus Foods name and a new stock symbol to be announced for the real estate company.
About RealBiz Media Group, Inc.
RealBiz Media Group, Inc. operates two business segments: an international food subsidiary (Verus Foods) that sells products to customers worldwide; and a real estate digital media and technology company. RealBiz Media Group, Inc. (RBIZ) trades on the OTCQB venture stage marketplace for early stage and developing U.S. and international companies. Investors can find Real-Time quotes and market information for the company on www.otcmarkets.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
This news release contains forward-looking statements as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning plan, objectives, goals, strategies, future events or performance, and underlying assumptions and other statements that are other than statements of historical facts. These statements are subject to uncertainties and risks including, but not limited to, product and service demand and acceptance, changes in technology, economic conditions, the impact of competition and pricing, government regulation, and other risks described in statements filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All such forward-looking statements whether written or oral, and whether made by or on behalf of the Company, are expressly qualified by the cautionary statements that may accompany the forward-looking statements. In addition, the Company disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.