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Dialing for Dollars

Biz BriefsInternet phone service provider Vonage, which at 5 years of age claims more than 1 million customers, filed last week to raise $250 million in an initial public offering. It also announced that Tyco International executive Mike Snyder will take over as CEO, replacing founder Jeffrey Citron, who will remain as chairman and chief strategist.

An IPO would allow the Edison-based firm to expand its business and pursue deals as rivals like Comcast begin to offer the service bundled with cable TV and Internet access.

Vonage had a loss of $189.6 million in the nine months ended last September, but the company has two things going for it: Its customer base is the biggest in the industry and its aggressive advertising has made it a recognized name.

Vonage came on the scene in 2001 to become one of the first companies in the U.S. to offer Internet telephone service to residential customers and small businesses. The company grew fast and has since raised $408 million in venture capital, much of it plowed into advertising and getting its product into stores like Circuit City and Radio Shack.