Archive for the ‘acquisition’ tag
The popular and fast-growing blog service is mulling a $1.1 billion acquisition offer from Yahoo. But while the massive blogging powerhouse only pulled in $13 million in revenue in 2012, and raised $125 million at a lower $800 million valuation, Tumblr CEO David Karp feels $1.1 billion is too little.
I guess it depends what yardstick you use.
If you look at an Instagram-style deal, which was originally around a billion dollars but eventually, due to Facebook’s stock market woes, came in a little lower, he might be right. But that deal had one thing going for it that Tumblr does not.
Instagram chief executive and co-founder Kevin Systrom had multiple suitors, while Tumblr only has one.
That’s because, as Forbes reveals, Yahoo is currently negotiating under a lockup. So even though Facebook, Microsoft, and potentially other acquirers are interested, Yahoo has at least a period of time in which it is the only one on the dance card.
In addition Tumblr, which famously hates advertising and only started trying to make money after five years in existence, is in a bit of a pickle, as its $125 million in funding is running out, giving the service only a few-month window in which to raise a new round or find a sugar daddy.
That’s likely a strategic error on Karp’s part, who has said that advertising “really turns our stomachs.”
Tumblr only started to get serious about ad revenue in mid-2012, and is only planning to roll out its third major ad product — pay per view, in which you pay to get others to view — sometime later this year. Being more aggressive on monetization would have given Tumblr more runway to make a leisurely decision about an acquisition, or made the company more attractive to investors if it tried to raise another funding round.
There’s no question, however, that Tumblr is a traffic powerhouse. It ranks ninth on the list of most-popular U.S sites, and with 217 million global monthly unique visitors and 74 million million posts each and every day, the site is both huge and fast-growing. Few companies could monetize its 108 million blogs, 51 billion posts, and 16 billion monthly pageviews as well as Yahoo.
So while Yahoo is likely to come up a little, Karp could pick worse partners. And he might do well to finalize a deal sooner rather than later.
The car-sharing space is beginning to resemble a NASCAR race, with a multiple contestants putting the pedal to the floor in an effort to break ahead. Today, car sharing startup RelayRides announced that it has acquired competitor Wheelz to accelerate its growth.
RelayRides is a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace where people can offer their cars for daily or weekly rentals. Wheelz adopted a similar model, as well as proprietary DriveBox technology that facilitates keyless access to cars. With this acquisition, RelayRides will absorb Wheelz and its marketplace, technology, and several “key people” from the Wheelz team.
“RelayRides has been growing rapidly and we are confident that this acquisition will turbo-charge our growth,” said RelayRides director of communications Steve Webb to VentureBeat. “We are going to be better positioned to extend the benefits of peer-to-peer car sharing to more people across the US. This acquisition demonstrates that the peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace is maturing and consolidating. As an industry matures, consolidation follows, and the peer-to-peer car sharing industry is no exception. We are witnessing the evolution and maturation of an exciting space.”
Webb said that RelayRides and Wheelz share the goal of having a car within a ten minute walk for at least 100 million Americans by the end of 2015. Instead of owning a car or renting one from an agency, people can turn to services like RelayRides for a more personal and affordable mode of transportation. Each car on the site has a profile with information about its features, ratings and reviews, and owner bio. All drivers are pre-screened and RelayRides provides insurance on the rentals, so drivers don’t have to worry about damages.
RelayRides and Wheelz are part of a trend surrounding “the rise of disownership.” Consumer attitudes and behaviors surrounding renting, borrowing, and leasing items, versus ownership, are shifting across the country. People are increasingly engaging in disownership by putting their under-used property to work. Internet startups facilitated this movement by adopting ‘shared economy’ or ‘collaborative consumption’ models that connect people with available assets to people who need them. AirBnB did this for homes, TaskRabbit for services, but the transportation space is still a dynamic and crowded area. Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar can be used instead of taxis, and RelayRides is providing an alternative to traditional rental agencies. It mainly competes with Zipcar and Getaround.
Since launching in 2012, RelayRides added tens of thousands of members into its marketplace and thousands of postings for cars. Webb said rental reassertion hours increased by 500 percent and April was the company’s best month yet in terms of revenue and new members added. By scooping up Wheelz, RelayRides will expand its marketplace.
RelayRides has raised $13 million in venture capital. In 2012, it teamed up with General Motors so that 6 million of GM’s OnStar subscribers could rent out their cars using RelayRides. Wheelz had raised a total of $15.7 million and includes Zipcar has an investor. Both companies are headquartered in San Francisco.
The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Photo Credit: Darryl W. Moran Photography
Clipboard, a company that had focused on digital archiving, has been acquired by Salesforce, its founders have stated on the company site. Its product will be shut down on June 30.
Explaining the shutter-slamming, Clipboard said further, “We came to the conclusion that it was essential to focus on a singular platform for building new capabilities within Salesforce, which is not something that we could do while keeping Clipboard operating.”
Clipboard was founded in 2011 and was based in Bellevue, Wash. The service itself, however, didn’t make its public debut until almost exactly one year ago.
At that time, we noted that while visually identical to Pinterest, Clipboard was different because users could bookmark text, audio, animations, and fully formatted sections of webpages with links intact as well as simple images. Like Pinterest, the service included public/private options as well as a following/follower social model.
At Salesforce’s Seattle office, Clipboard CEO Dr. Gary Flake will become Salesforce’s newest engineering VP, and the rest of Clipboard’s core engineering and design team will continue to work under Flake.
While the exact terms of the deal are unknown, rumor pegs the price around $10 million or $20 million. Clipboard had previously raised around $2.5 million in seed funding.
Image credit: hownowdesign/Flickr
Filed under: Deals
Microsoft is offering $1 billion for Nook Media LLC, the tablet and digital media business started by Barnes & Noble and other investors, according to a report in TechCrunch.
Microsoft already owns a piece of Nook, having invested $300 million into the business in April 2012. According to the report, Microsoft would buy the digital operation, which includes e-books, movies, TV, comics, apps, and more.
The interesting wrinkle is that Nook is built on Android — which Microsoft makes money charging licenses for – and just opened up its business to Google, signing an agreement with Google to get Google Play and inviting the entire Google mobile stack — Gmail, Chrome, YouTube, and Google Maps — onto the platform. In addition, Nook offers apps on mobile platforms that compete with Microsoft: Android and iOS.
Which would put Microsoft in the awkward position of owning an Android-based tablet that, while not extremely successful, has sold more devices than Microsoft has sold of its own Windows 8-based tablets.
But Nook may be phasing out hardware and moving simply to delivering content via apps on other company’s hardware platforms as both revenue and device sales have slowed in recent quarters. In which case, Microsoft would be buying digital content and licenses to digital content that could be valuable assets for both Windows 8-based tablets and its Xbox living-room-entertainment-hub ambitions.
Whether that’s worth a billion dollars, however, is anyone’s guess.
Which means that the bigger question is whether buying a declining device and content distributor from an ailing company that is failing to successfully compete with Amazon is a smart business idea. With Nook division revenue declining more than $100 million in 2013 and a projected loss of $360 million, it could just be the case of Microsoft adopting yet another expensive albatross for its cash cow office, operating system, and business software divisions to support.
Trulia is one of the leading marketplaces for real estate online. Five million homes are listed on the site and potential buyers can search, visualize, and track properties as well as access information about nearby schools and crime. The site attracts 31 million monhtly unique visitors. Trulia filed for a $75 million IPO in August 2012 to keep pace with its primary competitor Zillow, which went public in 2011.
Trulia’s former strategy was to “build first” and avoid acquisitions. According to the company’s vice president of communications Ken Shuman “most acquisitions fail and tend to be a distraction for senior management.” However, in March 2013, Trulia announced that it intended to raise $150 million to move quickly on acquisitions.
“The capital is to really to strengthen the cash reserves for new product lines and acquisitions,” Shuman said in an interview with VentureBeat. “There has to be a really compelling reason to acquire, as we’re often better off building.”
The corporate development team looked for potential buys amongst companies that provide tools and services for real estate agents, online rentals, mortgage-focused startups, and small companies that could support international expansion.
Market Leader provides a suite of software solutions that real estate professionals use to manage their business online. Products include a website-builder, tools for lead generation tools and marketing, and contact management. Trulia has 46,000 premium subscribers which comprise a significant chunk of its revenue. This deal means Trulia can provide an “end-to-end solution” for these professionals.
In a statement issued the morning, Trulia’s CEO Pete Flint said that acquiring Market Leader will “create unprecedented value for our customer base” and the combined platform will “enhance the productivity of their agents.” Trulia will also benefit from Market Leader’s partnerships with franchisors and brokerages
Trulia’s foray into the realm of enterprise software could be a step towards profitability. The company has a “history of losses” and Market Leader’s revenue stream grew by more than 30% in 2012, marking its second year of consecutive growth. Rather than relying on accurate listings to attract subscribers, Trulia will be able to offer additional value to agents so they have a one-stop shop for their operations.
Trulia’s stock closed at $11.33 yesterday and Market Leader’s shareholders will receive $6 and .1553 shares of Trulia’s common stock for each share of Market Leader common stock. Trulia is headquartered in San Francisco and Market Leader will continue to work out of its offices in Kirkland, Washington as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Trulia.
NetSuite, the cloud financial software company, has just told the world its latest good news: It has acquired OrderMotion, another cloud company that specializes in order management.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We focus on the order at NetSuite,” said NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson in a recent VentureBeat interview. “Order management is at the heart of our transactions. … The transaction at the center of the business process is defining big winners.”
Of course, NetSuite already has its own order management system, but in a statement on the news, the company said it was a “important and complex business challenge” requiring outside augmentation to meet their customers’ needs, which range from e-commerce to brick-and-mortar retail to telemarketing.
NetSuite will be using OrderMotion’s technology for continuity and replenishment, as well as supporting direct response marketing efforts. The resulting product, the companies say, will be useful for almost every kind of business, from B2B, B2C, and retail use cases to wholesale distribution and manufacturing.
Order management is a great compliment to NetSuite’s commerce-as-a-service platform, which it launched last year to help any kind of company attain Amazonian online retail goals.
“We’re transforming how your business operates and how your business interacts with other businesses,” said Nelson at that time. “Customers want to transact with several different devices and they want you to remember them across devices.”
Image credit: nadja_robot/Flickr
Filed under: Deals
Wefollow, a directory that sorts and scores people based on their social media profiles and declared interests, has been acquired by About.me.
Wefollow was co-founded in 2009 by Kevin Rose, an About.me investor — a fact About.me co-founder Tony Conrad (pictured above) calls “perfect continuity.” We have other words for it. Wefollow’s other founder is Jeff Hodson, a longtime Rose collaborator from his Digg days.
About.me co-founders Ryan Freitas and Conrad wrote today on the company blog, “As About.me continues to grow, it’s increasingly important that we simplify the way users discover people on the About.me platform. Discovery has quickly become one of the most popular uses of About.me and represents a significant opportunity for us to further evolve our platform.”
The pair continued to state that Wefollow’s Klout-like scores for individuals’ areas of expertise will be used in About.me’s search algorithms. The Wefollow brand will eventually disappear entirely.
Wefollow uses Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram data to score its users on a 100-point scale based on their perceived relevance and/or expertise in a given field. For example, Jimmy Fallon scores 99 for the term “comedy” and 100 for the term “actor.”
The news was announced today on the company blog. CEO Olof Schybergson writes that the team is excited by the opportunity to work at one of the largest global consulting firms. “It’s almost like graduation day: proud of what I’d achieved, emotional about the past, and facing a new world of possibilities.”
The firm’s chief customer officer Mark Curtis once remarked that design is sparking a similar revolution to marketing just a few decades ago. “We’re beginning to see the very best products marketing themselves through design,” he said on stage at VentureBeat’s Mobile Summit in April.
Fjord’s 200 or so employees will make the jump, and many of them will join Accenture Interactive, the consulting giant’s design and marketing wing.
This is the latest in a series of acquisitions of design studios: Jawbone has added design talent to its team by acquiring Visere, and Google bought husband-and-wife creative studio Mike & Maaike last year.
Top image from a Fjord company retreat via the Fjord blog
Filed under: Business
Botched corporate takeover? What botched corporate takeover?
Dell today announced the acquisition of Enstratius, the Minneapolis-based cloud infrastructure management solution provider, for an undisclosed amount.
Enstratius enables users to deploy and manage enterprise-class applications across private, public and hybrid clouds.
“As enterprises increase their use of public, private, and hybrid clouds, the need for controls, security, governance, and automation becomes more critical,” said Tom Kendra, vice president and general manager of systems management at Dell Software, in a statement on the news.
The acquisition is expected to further enhance Dell’s end-to-end solutions strategy.
“Dell, together with Enstratius, is uniquely positioned to deliver differentiated, complete cloud-management solutions to enterprise customers large and small, empowering them with the efficiency and flexibility in the allocation and use of resources,” added Kendra.
At a recent press event, executives from Dell introduced its new software group to members of the media, and talks revolved around big data and cloud software products.
“Dell wants to be an end-to-end solutions provider, a one stop shop,” said Carol Fawcett, the chief information officer for the group, in an interview. “But we don’t want to be another Oracle.”
Talking of the acquisition, David Bagley, chief executive of Enstratius said in a statement, “We are excited to join the Dell team and bring our expertise to Dell’s rapidly growing cloud-management capabilities.”
Enstratius was founded in 2009, and had raised $3.5 million in venture capital from El Dorado Ventures and Vesbridge Partners in 2011.
Image Credit: 401(K) 2013/ Flickr
Filed under: Business
Astrid announced the acquisition itself on its blog, saying that “we are thrilled to announce” that the company has been bought by Yahoo.
Users of Astrid might possibly be less than thrilled, however, as the service will only be maintained as it currently exists for 90 days, after which changes might be made. Users, however, will be able to download any data they have input into the service, if they wish.
CEO Jon Paris thanked Google Ventures and Startup Lab as well as investors Nexus Venture Partners and TMT Investments, but said that Astrid will no longer be accepting premium subscriptions. Users who have paid for annual subscriptions that overlap that period will be getting refunds.
With the purchase, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer continues to deliver on her promise of more mobile and more acquisitions. Yahoo has also recently acquired mobile video platform OnTheAir, social curation site Snip.it, location discovery app Alike, and mobile recommendations site Jybe.
Paris’ entire statement:
Friends of Astrid,
We are thrilled to announce that we have been acquired by Yahoo!. When we set out to build Astrid, we sought to help as many people as possible become happier, healthier and more productive. We’re really excited to join the mobile team and continue this work with Yahoo!’s goal of “making the world’s daily habits more inspiring and entertaining.”
Over the next 90 days, Astrid will continue to work as is, and we will no longer be accepting new premium subscriptions. To make future changes as easy as possible, we’ll be in touch with users shortly to share how to download data.
We are grateful to the more than 4 million of you who have downloaded our apps, to those who have shared Astrid with friends, family and co-workers, and to all who encouraged us with your kind words along the way. You honored us in so many ways, and we won’t forget you.
We are also grateful to our many mentors and investors:
- Thomas Korte and AngelPad for your sage advice and assembling a tremendous community of entrepreneurs.
- Google Ventures and the team at the Startup Lab for teaching us so much.
- Nexus Venture Partners, TMT Investments, and the amazing angel investors who provided the resource and support we needed to build our products and company.
- Jump Associates and LUXr for helping us understand our users and build products people love.
To all of you, in both big and small ways you have helped us achieve the success we enjoy today. It is our sincere hope that our work will help you come closer to your own dreams.
Jon Paris & the Astrid Team
*Note: Yahoo! will be administering refunds to eligible users who have paid for annual subscriptions, Power-Pack and Locale Plugins.
Hat tip: The Next Web