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Epoch Picks New Chief to Lead Charge

April 13, 1999|JONATHAN GAW | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Internet services provider Epoch Internet said Monday it replaced its president and chief executive in a move that could be a precursor to a public stock offering.

Jeff Stone, former president of the interactive media division of Nextlink Communications Inc., replaces company founder Scott Purcell, who will retain a seat on the board of directors. Purcell formed Epoch, an Internet services provider based in Irvine, in 1994 and has raised $45 million through several rounds of venture-capital financing. Stone was brought in to develop the company further, possibly to the point where it would be able to go public.

"I was brought in to accelerate the business and take it to the next level as far as broadening its services, establishing some differentiators and growing the company's existing businesses," Stone said. "There has been no predetermined timing on the initial public offering per se, but that is a logical conclusion at this point."

Stone, 41, said he will be bringing in executives both on the technology and finance sides of the business, and that Epoch will move into more sophisticated Web services. Stone said the company still will focus on the small- and medium-sized corporate market.

Epoch, which has more than 200 employees in offices in Irvine, Seattle, Atlanta and Vienna, Va., claims to be the largest privately held Internet service provider in the world, with Purcell holding a majority interest in the company. Last year, the company had more than $20 million in sales, Stone said.

In the last year, Epoch has received venture capital funding from CIBC Capital Partners, HarbourVest Venture Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Gold & Appel, Prime New Ventures, Arete Ventures and Dolphin Communications.

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