Archive for the ‘acquisition spree’ tag
PayPal is the granddaddy of the online payments space. It was the remora of eBay until the auction giant bought it in 2002. Last year, PayPal processed $119 billion in transactions and accounted for 38% of eBay’s revenue. In the past year, eBay’s stock (+52%) has well outperformed Google (+11%), Amazon (+16%), Facebook (-45%) and Groupon (-75%) as of Friday’s close. (Disclosure: I have options against Facebook and Groupon. Facebook’s and Groupon’s numbers are based on their respective IPOs.)
We’re now in the midst of a new transformation of the payments space. Giants like Google, PayPal, American Express, Visa, VeriFone and Groupon are fighting for wallet share. (Although Apple hasn’t officially announced anything, it’s only a matter of time.) Dozens of startups such as Square, Gopago, LevelUp, Swipely, and Cardspring are trying to either carve out their niche or get acquired by one of the big guys.
PayPal has been on an acquisition spree. In the past 18 months, it has acquired Where, Fig Card, Zong, and, most recently, Card.io.
PayPal has significant consumer awareness and adoption, with 113 million accounts.
The company has announced big initiatives to bring PayPal payments into the physical world. PayPal is now accepted at big box merchant Home Depot. At the other end of the spectrum, PayPal created an initiative called PayPal Here that competes head on with Square for the small and micro merchants.
PayPal has its challenges. It has a reputation of being difficult for merchants, providing a terrible consumer experience and being an unpleasant place to work.
I sat down with David Marcus, PayPal’s new president, at PayPal’s offices in San Jose to talk about the future of payments and PayPal. Marcus replaced Scott Thompson in March. After our conversation, PayPal PR took me through a tour of the PayPal Shopping Showcase, an impressive laboratory that PayPal uses to sell retailers on its vision of the future of mobile payments and to conduct consumer research.
Marcus wants PayPal to be a brand that consumers interact with every day. That’s a tall order; there are very few brands that do that.
“The beauty of payments is that you pay for stuff everyday,” Marcus said.
I left feeling that PayPal is thinking about the right problems in the right ways.
Some in Silicon Valley look at PayPal’s legacy and its corporate parent and dismiss it. That’s a mistake. If I had to pick a winner today between Google and PayPal, it would be PayPal, hands down. But I’m equally confident that the folks in Cupertino will have something to say about this soon.
Here is PayPal’s answer to Square. And after months of waiting, it’s finally here. I received my triangular dongle in the mail recently.
Marcus admits that PayPal was late to the party. Until now, PayPal hasn’t marketed Here, because it didn’t want to have a long line of people waiting for dongles before they could get them out. Marcus said that the dongles are now being shipped within a couple of days of a merchant signing up. PayPal plans to use eBay’s large merchant base as a marketing channel to reach small merchants for Here. Although he didn’t have a percentage, Marcus said that a large number of eBay merchants also have physical storefronts.
Although the software isn’t yet as elegant as Square, Here provides merchants a more complete solution than Square when it comes to payments. In addition to accepting credit cards, merchants can deposit checks into their PayPal account. Unlike Square, funds are available to spend immediately through a linked debit card. For merchants who handle both online and offline transactions, Here is a clear winner. It is also marginally less expensive than Square; but merchants who are worried about that tiny difference should be using a regular merchant account.
PayPal at retail
PayPal is making a big push into retail, allowing users to pay with PayPal at Home Depot, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Jos. A Banks. I’ve been highly critical of the experience. Instead of swiping a credit card, consumers can enter their phone number and a PIN to pay.
Although it has value to PayPal and to merchants (in the form of lower transaction costs), I’ve been hard pressed to find a meaningful consumer value proposition today. So was Marcus. He sees the real value of PayPal at retail in the future. (He hinted at features that were in the works but didn’t share any.)
The goal, Marcus said, was to make PayPal another option, not to displace existing payment mechanisms. “We have no ambition to process all the credit card transactions for Home Depot,” Marcus said.
When it announced its quarterly numbers, eBay also announced that PayPal is expected to process $10 billion in mobile transactions this year. Although it’s always tempting to compare numbers, this number is very different from the $6 billion in transaction volume that Square is expecting for 2012.
The $10 billion comes from eBay users who complete purchases with PayPal on their mobile devices, as well as merchants who use PayPal in their mobile products. (Tablets are included in the $10 billion number.) PayPal Here and PayPal at retail aren’t included in that number, but I doubt they would be meaningful.
Depending on the final tally for this year, I expect that to be between 5% and 8% of PayPal’s total transaction value this year.
I asked Marcus where he thought that mobile payment figure would be in five years. After getting the customary warning from a PayPal PR representative who was sitting with us, advising Marcus not to project numbers, Marcus said that in five years the lines will be so blurred that it wouldn’t matter. If someone researches a transaction online, reserves it, and then pays for it with a mobile phone, is that an online or mobile transaction?
“You won’t be able to tell the difference in that time,” Marcus said. “Everything will be converged.”
Those lines are blurring already. Yesterday, I placed an order using the new eBay Now app on my iPad. A courier picked it up from the Best Buy store in San Francisco and brought it to me. When he arrived, I used PayPal Here on his iPhone to pay. Is that an offline or online transaction? It it mobile or not?
One of the biggest issues I have with PayPal is that, at every step of the way, the user interface is designed not to accomplish what I want to do, but what PayPal wants me to do. I never, ever want to pay with my checking account. I want to use my credit because of the consumer protection benefits and the Starwood points I get with my American Express. PayPal would rather have me pay with my checking account because it makes more money that way. It’s a sore point every time I pay with PayPal.
“That will change,” Marcus said.
He wants PayPal to be a consumer-centric company at the same time that it serves merchants. He didn’t specify a timeframe, but he said that mobile will help drive that change.
The small screen size forces designers to focus on the user’s most essential tasks. “It’s a forcing function for simplification,” Marcus said. “As a result of that, the Web experience will be a lot simpler.”
User experience also extends far beyond just a Web site or mobile app. It extends to every interaction with the consumer. “Historically, PayPal hasn’t been good at product marketing,” Marcus said. “This is a muscle we’re building.”
For a product like PayPal Here, this includes something as mundane as the packaging that the dongle arrives in. PayPal did a great job. To be fair, the packaging design is a blatant ripoff of Square’s package design. The one improvement I saw in an earlier PayPal Here package prototype — corrugated paper instead of foam — was replaced with plastic in the version being sent to merchants. But both companies ship the dongle complete with an attractive window cling that shows that your business takes credit cards and concise instructions on how to get started.
Data and interchange
Transaction data is going to be a big battleground. That’s one of the motivations for Google’s push into payments. Transaction data is one of the most powerful tools that can be used for offer targeting and personalization. I suggested to Marcus that some retailers may not want want to share line-item transaction information with a company like PayPal. He responded that PayPal already had more data than it uses.
The contention for data will also exist with card networks. Card networks have liked PayPal because many of its transactions have been additive. The eBay buyer who otherwise would have been using a money order means more volume, which translates into more data and more interchange fees for the card networks. But if a PayPal transaction replaces a Visa transaction at Home Depot, that means less data and less interchange.
PayPal Shopping Showcase
Inside its headquarters, PayPal has built a fake mall to showcase the future of payments. There’s a clothing retailer, a fruit stand, hardware store, grocery store and coffee shop. Josh Schoonmaker, the showcase’s manager, showed me around.
PayPal uses it to show retail executives how they can incorporate PayPal into their retail experiences. Schoonmaker showed off a number of concepts:
- A window display with QR codes. A shopper walking by when the store is closed can scan the QR code and order the item for pickup. When the order is placed, the clerk has access to the shopper’s history and can be prepared with upsells to matching items when the customer comes in.
- In the hardware store, we saw a barbecue grill that had been ordered online. It was paid for using the PayPal wallet, which contained a store gift card. An offer was automatically generated for a grill tool set.
- At the grocery store, we paid using a phone number. (This is the experience currently offered at Home Depot.) A receipt arrived by email.
- In the coffee shop, we could order ahead and walk to the front of the line to pick up our prepaid espresso.
Although some of these are just conceptual, they show that PayPal is thinking deeply about the best ways to integrate offline and online shopping experiences.
Just as important, PayPal is thinking about the right way to sell these concepts to merchants. Retailers are not technology visionaries. Having a tangible experience is key to selling them on the future of selling.
Shopping is not a perfectly rational activity. (How else can you explain Chia Pet?)
That’s something a lot of startups who are chasing the space fail to understand. A lot of psychology goes into a shopping experience, and just as much needs to go into trying to change it.
Schoonmaker explained that when you offer features like “skipping the line,” which allows users to order and prepay for coffee, there also needs to be corresponding signage. People are uncomfortable just walking to the front of the line and appearing to cut in front of everyone. Like elite lines at airports, there needs to be signs that implicitly give some people permission to cut the line. (And serve as a marketing vehicle to encourage other people to sign up for the service.)
You don’t get that by whiteboarding product features. The best way to get that is by watching consumers in action. (Paco Underhill’s “Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping” is a good read on the subject.)
PayPal also uses its showcase to introduce consumers to new concepts in payments and get their feedback.
Being part of eBay
Having a large business within a large business is always a challenge.
Of course, eBay was instrumental to PayPal’s early success. eBay users needed a way to pay. Before PayPal, paying online to small merchants was painful. I was an eBay seller back then. After an auction closed, I had to hound the buyer for payment. I provided my street address, the buyer went and purchased a money order, mailed it to me, I had to verify that it looked legitimate, then I shipped out the product. A best case scenario was a three-day turnaround, with many transactions taking a week or more. PayPal cut that time to minutes.
Even today, eBay accounts for about 67% of PayPal’s transaction volume, according to eBay’s quarterly report.
“We are blessed with an unbelievable business,” Marcus said. But the downside is that it provides the ability and incentive to not innovate, he said. It’s easier to just not rock the boat. But, “there is huge upside if we ship the right products.”
Recruiting and culture
eBay and PayPal have long had a reputation as terrible places to work, especially for engineers. As it happened, I was having lunch with a top engineer before my trip to PayPal. When I mentioned that I was headed to interview PayPal’s head, he expressed his disdain for the company’s culture. A friend who is a high-profile recruiter in Silicon Valley promised to smack me if I ever went to work for PayPal.
As with anything in Silicon Valley, being able to compete for top talent is going to be a big determinant of whether PayPal succeeds. I asked Marcus how he would compete with the likes of Square, which is often perceived to be the next hot startup.
Marcus said they’ve shifted from the old model where engineers and product managers sat far apart. Product managers would write 100-page PRDs and ship them over the wall to engineers who would build them without regard to whether the features made sense. A year later, you’d have a product that most likely didn’t meet the needs of a rapidly changing market. Now, they sit together and iterate more frequently.
As we chatted, Max Metral, who is leading up PayPal Here was walking by. He joined PayPal as part of the Fig Card acquisition last year.
“I’ve never had more fun,” Metral said. “And I’m at PayPal.”
PayPal also has more than 100 million people signed up. The payments business involves a lot of drudge work, including partnerships and regulatory regimes. (For example, to do what PayPal does legally, you must be a licensed money transmitter, which is a state-by-state process.) Much of that work has already been done, and you can just focus on building great consumer experiences, Marcus said.
Marcus said he has a lot of top engineers knocking on his door because of the new culture and PayPal’s significant resources.
Such statements are always hard to assess. Every big company claims it is like a startup and wants to empower employees and cut bureaucracy. Very few actually do. But Marcus’ pitch was convincing enough that I’d actually entertain a conversation, whereas a few years ago I’d never return a call from eBay.
[Top image credit: PayPal]
The enterprise-focused move will enable Dell to offer more solutions to customers besides computers. Wyse makes thin clients and the virtualization software that makes them useful. Used in retail settings or call centers, the thin clients are less functional than PCs but cost a lot less as well.
The clients typically have no hard drives and do not store data on the local machine. Instead, upon booting, the machines fetch programs and data over the cloud, pulling down needed information from the data center. A user logs into the client and then can access his or her data.
Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Dell expects Wyse to add to its fiscal 2013 earnings.
Dell said Wyse will complement its enterprise portfolio and give it a “cloud client.” That will give Dell customers more choice in the enterprise. Dell has been on an acquisition spree and some of its deals are aimed at spreading beyond the PC to become an enterprise technology company.
Rivals include companies such as Citrix in virtualization software and NComputing in thin clients. Wyse is based in San Jose, Calif., and it has more than 3,000 resellers of its thin clients. It has shipped more than 20 million units since it was founded in 1981.
Filed under: deals
Design-focused flash sales site Fab.com is debuting a new partner today—Madonna. The site is featuring a special offer for U.S. members today for Madonna’s new album MDNA. The album will retail for $7.99 (vs. $14.99 retail).
This isn’t the first time a music artist has partnered with a flash sales site. Norah Jones just debuted a new song off her latest album on travel site Jetsetter. Lady Gaga teamed up with Gilt for a curated sale, concert access and more.
Founder and CEO Jason Goldberg said this of the Madonna deal: At Fab, we strive to offer our members unique access to great designers and artists, both emerging and iconic…Thanks to the enthusiasm of our members, we’ve sold more than 1 million products already. Offering Madonna’s fabulous new album MDNA at $7.99, 47% off retail, is a big thank you kiss to our members for helping us get so far, so quickly.
The celebrity endorsement angle is another win for Fab, which just hit 3 million members and is exploding in growth since its pivot last year. Armed with over $40 million in VC money from Andreessen Horowitz and others; Fab has been on an acquisition spree and is projecting $100 million in revenue in 2012.
Prior to Akamai, Sherman served as the chief financial executive of IBM’s $21 billion Systems and Technology Group. Over the course of 15 years at IBM, Sherman held senior executive positions in Finance, including Vice President, Finance and Planning, zSeries Server Division, and Assistant Controller of IBM Corporate Financial Strategy and Budgets.
He also served as CFO for semiconductor company CommQuest, which was acquired by IBM in March of 1998 for $200 million.
For background, HubSpot’s marketing software customers manage websites and generate leads. HubSpot, which just raised a massive $32 million from Sequoia Capital, Google Ventures, Salesforce and others, has been on a bit of an acquisition spree and just bought Performable and OneForty.
Sherman’s addition represents more than just a talent win. His experience leading two public companies in the technology space could help HubSpot navigate a future in the public markets. The company says: We have been growing at record pace and want to build a company that can be successful in the public markets.
HubSpot CEO and co-founder Brian Halligan explained: “We always thought HubSpot could be a large, publicly traded company anchoring the software industry in Boston. Hiring a COO with public company experience is the next step on that path…We are on the same fast growth path of all the successful SaaS companies, and need to start preparing for an IPO. I know JD brings the right experience to our management team.”
Online Marketing News: Google+ Strikes Again, Coca Cola “Gets It”, Twitter Continues Acquisition Spree
The Social Job Seekers
The social media job market is hot! This infographic visualizes the 2011 Social Job Seeker Survey that was conducted by Jobvite. It examines who the job seekers are and how they are utilizing social media to find jobs. Some interesting statistics you may not be aware of:
- 61% of all employed Americans are open to a new job or actively looking for a new one.
- 4 out of 10 job seekers are “Super Social” and have 150+ contacts on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.
- 1 in 6 job seekers found their last job through an online social network.
This Week in News About Google
“How to Get Actionable Data Out of Google Analytics” Proper goal setting is second to none when running a website or blog. If your goals are not properly setup then you are missing out on the most actionable metrics of your website. This article provides some great tips on setting up and measuring your website goals. Via KISSmetrics.
“Pages With Too Many Ads “Above The Fold” Now Penalized By Google’s “Page Layout” Algorithm” Do you shove lots of ads at the top of your web pages? Think again. The “page layout algorithm” takes direct aim at any site with pages where content is buried under tons of ads. Via Search Engine Land.
“Google+ Now Lets You Share Straight From Search Results” Aimed at making it easier for users to join or start discussions on particular topcis, Google+ has recently beefed up their search capabilities. Additionally, Google+ will automatically attach search terms to your posted items. Via Mashable.
“Google Real-Time Insight Finder” This tool helps users make sense of data and spot emerging trends more quickly. It also allows companies to gain insight in to attitudes, perceptions, and needs of your consumers so that you can adjust your strategy quickly to meet their needs. Via YouTube.
“Google+ brands growing faster than brands on Twitter?” A statistical comparison by Socialbakers shows that brands are growing their fan bases faster on Google+ than brands on Twitter. How is this happening? Read on to find out. Via Socialbakers.
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Content Marketing for the Masses
“3 Content Marketing Ideas You Should Steal from Coca Cola” Heavy hitter Coca Cola has realized that a 30 second advertisement will no longer cut it. They have instead turned to content marketing , which aims to double Coca Cola worldwide consumption by 2020. Via copyblogger.
“3 (more) business blogging tips for beginners” If you are one of the many bloggers with a new years resolution that includes doing more with your blog, then this post is for you. What is the first step? Be realistic! Via SEO Copywriting.
“How to Overcome the 7 Most Crippling Blogging Challenges” Time to take the “but’s” out of blogging. This article does a great job of providing solutions for many of the excuses would be bloggers have today. Via socialmediatoday.
The Social Media Beat
“7 Ways To Improve Your Social Media Skills and Influence” Social media sharing is still a very new role for many employees. This article helps prepare newbies and social media dabblers for life in a social world. Via Forbes.
“9 Small Business Social Media Success Stories” Case studies speak for themselves. Applying a real life example of success can make a large impact on your perception of a tactic or marketing strategy. This post provides 9 great examples of how social media has helped small businesses grow. Via Social Media Examiner.
“Facebook Expands Service That Lets Users Share Online Activities” Facebook announced this week that they are adding over 60 new partners to a service which will allow users to let their friends know what they’re doing online from listening to music to news articles they are viewing. Via Bloomberg.
“Twitter Acquires Social Aggregation Start-Up Summify” Following Twitter’s other recent acquisitions it was announced today that Summify, a social news aggregation service has also been acquired. If you’re a Summify user beware! Services will shut down in a few weeks. Via Wired.
From the TopRank Newsroom
Alexis Hall – “Average Viewer Watched 23.2 Hours of Online Video Content in December”
According to the latest research from comScore Video Metrix, the average viewer watched 23.2 hours of online video content in December 2011. That is a lot of time people are spending online, engaged with this channel. This post from Search Engine Watch discusses the impact of this research on marketers, including the reach of video advertising on YouTube. Via Search Engine Watch.
Brian Larson – “PIPA and SOPA Co-Sponsors Abandon Bills”
SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is on the minds of many marketers. From image sharing and content curation, to linking and keyword research, SOPA has the potential to drastically change the way we create, share, promote and optimize content. With the co-sponsor’s abandoning the bill, is this a sign that the public outcry was heard? Via Mashable.
Ken Horst – “Twitter is adding 11 new accounts per second and could pass 500 million in February, says report”
If anyone is still holding out on starting a Twitter account, now would be the time to start thinking about it. When Twitter hits 500 million, it will be very hard not to acknowledge Twitter as a strong channel for online marketing. The trick is how to leverage Twitter and you can learn that by reading our post from earlier this month; 4 B2C Examples of How Companies are Using Twitter to Attract & Engage Customers. Via The Next Web.
Emily Conley – “Yahoo’s Co-founder Jerry Yang Resigns”
Just weeks after the announcement of new CEO Scott Thomson joining Yahoo, the company’s co-founder Jerry Yang has announced his resignation. Thompson called Yang’s 17 years with Yahoo a legacy of innovation and customer focus for the iconic brand. 2012 is shaping up to be an eventful year for Yahoo. It will be noteworthy to follow how these changes trickle down to impact the world of SEO! Via Search Engine Land.
Time to Weigh In: What do you think of Google’s new search tactics? Have they taken it too far? Also, what other newsworthy items did you read this week that you think should be shared with our readers?
© Online Marketing Blog, 2012. |
Online Marketing News: Google+ Strikes Again, Coca Cola “Gets It”, Twitter Continues Acquisition Spree | http://www.toprankblog.com
Anthony Ha, who previously worked for tech blog Venturebeat, reports on Adweek that SAY Media has acquired tech blog ReadWriteWeb. He also says Dan Frommer, former editor at tech blog Silicon Alley Insider and founder of tech blog SplatF, will be joining tech blog ReadWriteWeb as its new editor-at-large. The news comes shortly after Marshall Kirkpatrick, who has long been a senior writer for tech blog ReadWriteWeb after working as a reporter for tech blog TechCrunch, announced that he would be leaving his fulltime position at tech blog ReadWriteWeb.
Sarah Perez, who recently joined tech blog TechCrunch after writing for tech blog ReadWriteWeb, says she has no comments to share about the deal for the time being.
(On a sidenote: looks like there aren’t a lot of big, independent tech blogs left now)
We’re trying to get a hold of tech blogger Dan Frommer for an official statement on his role at the newly acquired tech blog. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
I’m guessing Ha moved (a little too?) fast, because there aren’t any official statements on the SAY Media blog or tech blogs ReadWriteWeb and SplatF yet. Expect some soon.
Update: here’s the press release:
SAY Media Acquires ReadWriteWeb
SAN FRANCISCO – Dec. 14, 2011 – SAY Media today announced it has acquired ReadWriteWeb, one of the most popular and influential technology publications in the world, to anchor its growing Technology channel that reaches more than 75 million global consumers each month. Founder and editor-in-chief Richard MacManus will continue to lead ReadWriteWeb as part of SAY Media’s rapidly expanding editorial team. In addition to ReadWriteWeb’s current staff, new star writers will contribute to the renowned technology publication, starting with Dan Frommer, founder and editor-in-chief of SplatF, who will serve as editor-at-large.
“ReadWriteWeb has established itself as a leading news and analysis source for the tech community, reaching high-level business influencers and decision makers. Its editorial team is frequently sourced and considered to be one of the best in the business,” said Matt Sanchez, CEO, SAY Media. “As we looked to acquire a property that would further strengthen our technology channel, ReadWriteWeb naturally rose to the top of the list. Richard and his team are extremely passionate about the content they create and have worked very hard to develop a deeply engaged and informed community of tech enthusiasts.”
As part of SAY Media’s portfolio of owned and operated media properties, ReadWriteWeb will take advantage of the company’s proprietary technology platform, experienced ad sales team, and world-class design expertise to scale its business to reach more technology enthusiasts and decision-makers. Under SAY’s guidance, the site will continue to evolve through design and user experience innovations that align with SAY’s Clean Campaign vision, and also expand its editorial scope to appeal to a wider array of technology consumers.
“We’re incredibly excited to be joining SAY Media and believe this partnership will help us better serve our community of readers,” said Richard MacManus, founder and editor-in-chief, ReadWriteWeb. “With SAY’s technology and services we’ll be able to scale ReadWriteWeb in ways previously unavailable to us. We’ll now be able to expand our editorial scope into relevant areas of interest and redesign the site to create a more premium experience for both our readers and advertisers.”
This acquisition will strengthen SAY’s Tech channel offering by giving brands an assortment of custom advertising opportunities that leverage the influence and authority of voices like Richard MacManus and Dan Frommer and the reach of SAY’s broader network of technology properties to connect brands with engaged audiences. Current sites in SAY Media’s Tech channel include: Android and Me, Gear Patrol, gdgt, SplatF, TechDirt and more.
“ReadWriteWeb covers the tech industry with a high level of integrity and intellectual curiosity. I can’t wait to add my voice to the site, as I report on technology trends around the world,” said Dan Frommer, founder and editor-in-chief, SplatF and editor-at-large, ReadWriteWeb.
As SAY continues on its path to become the undisputed home of passion-based, vertical media properties, the company will continue to partner with, build and acquire sites that create quality content with a point-of-view and maintainvibrant, engaged communities.
ReadWriteWeb is one of the most popular technology blogs in the world, known for offering insightful analysis about each day’s Internet industry news. ReadWriteWeb was founded in April 2003 by Richard MacManus and is now one of the most widely read and respected blogs in the world. Its readers are smart and influential decision makers. For more information visit www.readwriteweb.com.
About SAY Media
SAY Media is a digital publishing company that turns strong, culturally relevant voices into premium digital media experiences. Through its technology platform and media services, SAY enables its portfolio of independent content creators to build passionate communities around key consumer interest areas such as Style, Living, Food and Tech. The company provides simple and accountable ways for the world’s top brands to engage with these passionate audiences, at scale, with a reach of more than 500 million people around the world. SAY Media is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices across North America, in the UK and Australia. For more information visit: www.saymedia.com.
VeriFone is on a bit of an acquisition spree. After purchasing payments software developer Global Bay, the payments company is acquiring European e-payments giant Point for $820 million. The acquisition is expected to close at the end of 2011. VeriFone will also assume $230 million worth of debt from Point, making the the total transaction volume over $1 billion.
Point, which was sold by private equity group Nordic Capital, is Northern Europe’s largest provider of payment and gateway services for retailers and merchants. Point installations handle 10 million transactions per day, and customers include some of the largest retail companies in Europe, as well as small independent stores and online merchants.
The company’s technology includes point-of-sale technology and support, gateway services, card encryption services, and multi-channel e-commerce processing. Point has more than 800 employees and a local presence in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and the UK. Currently, Point has 475,000 merchant contracts.
VeriFone plans to expand the Point platform throughout the region and beyond, with the aim of creating the world’s largest infrastructure for rapid deployment of alternative payments.
Douglas G. Bergeron, VeriFone CEO said of the acquisition “Our vision is to offer retailers everywhere a managed service to easily accept all existing payment types, including the evolving alternative and mobile payment methods being offered by Google, PayPal, Groupon, Isis, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. At the same time, we can increasingly offer the new payment entrants easy and accelerated access to our worldwide installation of more than 20 million merchant lanes.”
Beyond expanding point of sale technologies in Europe, Point is also a money-maker for VeriFone, and expected to bring in $260 million in sales this year. VeriFone expects total services revenue to exceed 30 percent of sales in fiscal year 2012, and 50 percent of revenue by fiscal year 2015.
As AllThingsD reported in August, VeriFone is planning to spend $1 billion a year to acquire new technologies to help lead the payments space. While it looks like VeriFone could have reached that number this year, next year’s slew of acquisitions should be interesting.
Vancouver’s HootSuite is growing like gangbusters with no plans of slowing down. Reported by The Vancouver Sun, the company is on an acquisition spree, announcing this week it has acquired the location-based marketing tool Geotoko.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Professional social network LinkedIn is on a bit of an acquisition spree. In its second purchase in two weeks, LinkedIn has acquired hosted search startup IndexTank. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
IndexTank is a real-time, hosted search engine service that allows developers to quickly build search-based applications without having to worry about hosting their own search software. IndexTank’s features include: real-time feed indexing, instantaneous availability of search data, geo search, automatic faceting, range search and instant insights about indexed data from search.
The startup, which has raises $1.6 million in funding, counts Reddit as a customer. Details are still unclear, but it appears that IndexTank’s search technology will be integrated into LinkedIn’s search. IndexTank says that LinkedIn has agreed to maintain the IndexTank service running for the next six months, and will open source key components of the technology.
Continuing its acquisition spree, Japan’s DeNA agreed to buy Chilean mobile social game firm Atakama Labs. The companies didn’t disclose the prize, but we heard a couple of months ago that the deal was valued at around $6 million during negotiations. We don’t know what the actual price turned out to be.
The deal shows that the mobile game sector continues to be a hot one as social and smartphone games take over from traditional feature phone gaming.
Atakama Labs was founded by Esteban Sosnik and Tiburcio de la Carcova, two Argentines who crossed the Andes and settled in Santiago, Chile, in search of more political and economic stability.
Under DeNA, Atakama will provide support for subsidiary Ngmoco, which is creating the Mobage mobile social network.
Recent articles have noted that Chile has an attractive climate for startups, and this deal will likely fuel that perception. DeNA became a billion-dollar company based on its success with mobile social games in Japan. It now has more than 400 employees and is trying to become a worldwide smartphone and tablet gaming powerhouse.