Archive for the ‘sector’ tag
News Corporation has just reported its quarterly earnings. For Q4 it had revenues of $8.4 billion with earnings per share of $0.32, both down compared to the year before (Q4 2011 the company reported revenues of $9 billion with EPS of $0.35). The earnings per share met analysts expectations, but revenues fell short, with analysts expecting $8.722 billion. Those estimate numbers were down by 11% and 3% respectively on the same quarter a year ago, on the back of pressures in advertising in its publishing sector and a less blockbusters in the entertainment division of the business. The company noted that gains in its cable network business mostly offset declines in all other divisions. Full-year revenue was $33.7 billion, 1% up on the year before.
The company also reported a net loss of $1.6 billion for the quarter, compared to a net income of $683 million in the same quarter a year ago. The company said the figure included a $2.8 billion restructuring charge for its publishing division, which News Corp. is planning to separate from its entertainment division.
And there was other bad news: the company has taken a charge of $224 million for the year on related to “litigation settlement charges,” presumably in connection with the phone-hacking scandal in the UK. The charge for litigation in 2011 was $125 million. The charge for Q4 alone for litigation was $57 million.
In terms of operating segments, all but cable network programming saw declines for the quarter. Here’s how it broke down:
Despite revenues being down on a year ago, News Corp. is also making some significant moves that have pleased the street. In addition to splitting its entertainment and publishing businesses, it has initiated a $10 billion stock buyback plan.
In its last quarter, which ended March 31, 2012, the company had cash reserves of $61 billion and reported annual revenues of $34 billion.
More to come. Refresh for updates.
Last week a story appeared in Fortune magazine hypothesizing that Google and Facebook are using cy pres settlements of privacy class actions to improperly channel money to civil liberties groups that reliably support “the tech sector side” in disputes with copyright owners, including my organization, Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. Read more » about No Surprise, CIS Reliably Sides With Users
The marketing automation sector is one of the fastest growing in the burgeoning enterprise space. We see proof of this today with Eloqua’s initial public offering (HPO).
The stock opened at $12.02 per share on the NASDAQ for the SaaS provider of performance management technology. It was up 12.92% in trading from its $11.50 original stock price. The company sold eight million shares. It had a price range of $10-to-$12 per share.
Eloqua is halfway through its fiscal year. In 2011 the company had revenues of $71.3 million, up 40%. In 2011, the company has 327 employees. That’s up 15% compared to 2010.ffer as a software as a service (SaaS).
According to WSJ, Eloqua’s revenue increased 42% to $45 million this year, although the company reported a net loss of $5.5 million, compared with a loss of $3.5 million in the first half of the prior year.
Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai ‘s “One Sony” strategy is having some adverse effects on the company’s bottom line — and sales elsewhere aren’t helping.
The company lost $312 million during its second quarter, a number attributed to poor sales in its gaming, home entertainment, and mobile divisions, as well as its ongoing restructuring efforts.
The gaming end was particularly bad, contributing $45 million to the losses on a 14.5 percent drop in sales. Sony blames the drop on its aging Playstation 3 and PSP consoles, neither of which are attracting much attention from consumers anymore.
Overall sales for the quarter came in at $19,2 billion, a shift Sony attributes to its acquisition of Sony Mobile. Still, overall restructuring efforts in the Mobile Products and Communications Division division contributed $356 million in losses.
Some good news is that Sony’s television business is still inching towards profitability: It cut operating losses to $84 million, though sales continue to slide. Translation: Sony is losing less money in a sector that’s struggling against competitors like Samsung.
Sony saw some success in its imaging products division, which reported a $160 million profit on a 7.6 percent increase in sales. Sony has been making a lot of big moves in the camera sector, including a planned $997 million investment in camera sensor production.
Sony admits that the market for digital cameras is shrinking as consumer interest has shifted to smartphones. The company says it aims to fix this problem by focusing on its high-end camera line, which has seen greater demand.
As a result of its numbers, Sony is lowering is outlook for the year.
Photo: pcruciatti / Shutterstock
Filed under: VentureBeat
The relatively fast Pinterest adoption rate, of what we might call nontraditional to social media verticals, is amazing to me. From financial services, manufacturing to B-to-B, Pinterest seems to capture the imagination of marketers. In particular is the healthcare sector where many hospitals and medical centers are embracing visual communications and doing interesting work on Pinterest. I was very excited when Ashely Howland from Bayler Healthcare System agreed to tell us the back-story of Bayler’s Pinterest strategy. Ashely graciously shares her insights and learnings. In fact, her interview was so rich and detailed that we decided to run it as a series. Please join me in welcoming Ashley to Diva Marketing! About Ashley Howland is the social media manager for Baylor Health Care System. She has been with Baylor for 8 years where she got her start in Media Relations. She took on Baylor’s social media efforts in 2009 “on the side” and it quickly turned into a full time job. Diva Marketing/Toby: I applaud Baylor’s step into Pinterest. Your boards were one of the first that I pinned to my Brand Board. Perhaps you can shed some light on something I’ve been thinking about since I first saw your boards. Healthcare, as an industry, was slow to participate in the social web. However, it seems the opposite is true for Pinterest. On a high level why do you suppose that’s the case? Ashley Howland: Thanks for adding us to your brand boards! You’re right; health care was very slow…
The recent results of Zygna, Groupon, and even the mighty Facebook on the public markets in the U.S. have served to highlight a couple of major issues for European startups. One is a little jealously: there remain few viable IPO markets in Europe for tech stocks, hence why you see so many moving to the US – usually NASDAQ – when they get big, as happened with Yandex and Qlik Technologies. The second is annoyance: many solid European tech companies are now at a point where they have solid, revenue generating businesses, built on a lot more than hype and user numbers alone. And in the last year we’ve seen these companies start to look for ways to break-out.
For example, there are rumours that both the incredibly successful Wonga and King.com are considering floating on New York’s NASDAQ exchange, while Mind Candy is also alleged to be considering a float for its Moshi Monsters game.
And the latest symptom of this is another rallying cry by entrepreneurs and VCs for a tech IPO market in London, the natural home for European startups to float in a global setting. Over the weekend the Index Ventures VC lit the touch-paper on a debate many in the ecosystem have been champing at the bit to have and one we’ll be tracking over the next few months and years no doubt. For we are acutely aware that a healthy tech sector requires funding at ALL stages, and with no European IPO market, startups in Europe will remain starved of capital in the long run.
Written by the highly respected and veteran investor and Index Ventures partner Robin Klein, the post points out both the “centrality of the Tech sector to economic growth” during the downturn, while at the same time the huge growth in its size over the last few years.
Index notes the “steady transformation” of real estate tenants in London’s business districts towards technology companies such as Bloomberg, Skype, Amazon, Expedia, and newer ones such as Moo.com, Moshi Monsters, Huddle and others. Some companies in the tech sector are seeing revenue growth of at least 30% per annum, and up to 100%.
However, says Index’s Klein, there “remains a disconnect between the economic vigor in the tech world and the dynamism of the City.” And there is the continuing problem that the “door to London’s IPO market is shut tight for tech companies” despite London’s place as a global financial centre
Further more, its just plain stupid. The UK’s Internet economy now accounts of over 8% of the country’s GDP, a higher figures than South Korea (7.3%), China (5.5%), Japan (4.7%) or the US (4.7%) according to the Economist Intelligence Unit and OECD.
And according to a recent BCG report online retail accounts for 13.5% of total UK retail sales, a higher percentage than in any other G20 country, while online advertising accounts for 28.9% of total advertising spend. By contrast, in Japan, only 21.6% of the advertising market is digital.
In other words, UK and European investors in public markets are missing out on all this for want of a place to participate even though it’s happening outside their front door.
As a result, Index has suggested a “three-pronged attack from policy-makers, entrepreneurs, and the City alike to make this happen.”
Their proposals are quoting at length:
For the companies capable of listing:
An approach to an IPO needs to be one which recognises that the listing is a fund raising and liquidity event on the way to building a large and great company. It is NOT an exit.
It is important to be IPO ready. This means having the right governance structure in place: an appropriate board with an independent head of audit committee, and well-established remuneration and nomination committees. A well-drilled quarterly rhythm to re-forecasting and a good history of hitting the numbers is also essential.
It is important to communicate a company’s story to the market with clarity and precision.
Ideally VCs will help their company get ready, and be willing and able to hold the stock post float for at least one year. It is the price one year from the float that is most relevant to inside shareholders, so the pricing of the floatation shouldn’t be optimized to the nth degree.
For the policymakers:
The minimum public float requirement of 25% is too high to create a healthy IPO market.
Entrepreneurs don’t want to give away so much of their company, particularly when equity is given to the bankers hired to help list the company as well. It would behoove both Europe’s tech companies as well as the public markets if the minimum threshold either dropped to 10%, or a minimum valuation was assigned to companies interesting in listing. The public float is likely to grow over time as early investors (VCs and others) sell their shares.
The stamp duty on shares should be revoked, given that the UK has the joint highest rate of stamp duty in the world. This puts London at a competitive disadvantage when it is competing with New York.
For the Institutional Shareholders and Fund Managers:
It is important to understand the fundamental difference between PE-backed companies and VC-backed companies. PE houses are generally seeking to exit their investments through an IPO or replace debt in the company. VCs generally fund their portfolio without debt and a listing is often seen as a way of raising the company’s profile and providing access to further capital.
Strategic investments by city firms are needed to build up specialist analysis and the research required to properly evaluate hyper-growth tech companies and become familiar with the diverse business models and KPIs.
There is a big difference between 2000’s tech stocks and 2010’s growth stocks. Whilst many of the tech companies will not offer sufficient market liquidity and be sub scale at this stage, it is not hard to see that this situation will not pertain for too long.
This whole issue was thrown into sharp relief only today.
Dow Jones VentureSource released figures about European venture capital which show that consumer Internet companies are now leading the charge here. But the trends also show that European tech companies are suffering from too few exit and IPO opportunities.
In the the second quarter of this year only three companies went public, which was half the number of initial public offerings (IPOs) recorded in the second quarter of 2011.
The lack of deal activity combined with investment growth is down to a “lacklustre exit environment” which is thus keeping companies private for longer.
I was reminded of this debate when talking to a Private Equity manager recently.
We were both at an event for tech startups, and he was, frankly, blown away by the innovation going on.
At his particular fund, they had realised there was an increasing amount of capital for early stage investors, so they had decided to create a large fund for later stage tech companies. “It’s worked out well” he told me, especially because they had seen the cycle time for tech companies shorten dramatically. It used to take 4/5/6 years – it’s now happening in a year or two years.
But it is his observation that the lack of public markets is holding Europe back from creating the next big wave of companies, as the U.S. did.
The usual big funds and the analysts have a big community in the US. But in Europe there are not a lot of IPOs, and when they do IPO the companies don’t trade well and that downward effect trickles down. They either sell too early or they don’t raise enough cash on the IPO.
So the question is, how can we bring public markets investors into these forums of entrepreneurs?
What can be done from here on to make this happen?
Because it’s clearly going to take more than a few networking events among city traders and startups to get this going.
Indeed, Klein tells me that there is no appetite for VCs to “build these elusive billion dollar companies until we have a solid IPO market. When I look over the pond and see what is being listed (and the valuations) – I go green.”
And as another VC told me today, “we have 4 companies making more than £10m in EBITDA – I don’t want to see these companies sold to some U.S. (or other) giant.”
The whole infrastructure of the companies, the policymakers and the institutional shareholders and fund managers to be put in a room and have their beds knocked together until they come up with some answers.
Let us know your views in the comments below. We’ll be tracking this story as it emerges.
Dow Jones VentureSource has released some figures about European venture capital which we should all take a look at and chew over. The headline news is something that you might not have predicted a few years ago. Given that bigger European tech companies have been largely drawn from the Enterpise/B2B space, it’s significant that consumer Internet companies are now leading the charge. But the trends also show that European tech companies are suffering from too few exit opportunities which is leading to later-stage financing rounds and less deal activity.
According to VentureSource, venture-backed companies based in Europe raised €1.3 billion through 273 venture capital deals during the second quarter of 2012. This represents a 14% increase in capital raised. But at the same time there has been a 20% decline in deals from the same period last year.
Consumer technology services saw the greatest gains of any industry in the second quarter, raising €493 million through 72 deals. This was more than double the €239 million raised during the same period last year “despite only one more deal being completed”. Almost two-thirds of the capital went to the “consumer information services” sector, which includes social media, online entertainment and search companies.
In addition, 62% of deals in the second quarter went to early-stage companies, up from 58% in the same period last year. Early-stage companies also accounted for 32% of capital invested, on par with the second quarter of 2011. Second-round deals accounted for 19% of deal flow and 18% of capital invested, down from 25% and 28%, respectively, in the year-ago period. Later-stage deals accounted for 19% of deals, up from 17% a year earlier, and 49% of capital invested, a significant increase from the year-ago period when 39% of capital went to later-stage companies.
Also in the report:
• During the second quarter, 38 European venture-backed companies were acquired, a 34% drop in deals from the same period last year, and three companies went public, which was half the number of initial public offerings (IPOs) recorded in the second quarter of 2011.
• Through the first six months of this year, venture capital investment totaled €2.2 billion for 550 deals, a 7% decline in capital and 10% decline in deals from the year-ago period.
• The industry trends in the second quarter largely reflect the recently released U.S. investment figures, with Internet and software companies faring well but significant declines recorded in the healthcare and energy industries.
The “data” market is also buoyant. Business and financial services companies raised €144 million for 35 deals during the second quarter, a 58% increase in investment despite a 27% decline in deals. The business support services sector, driven by interest in marketing, advertising and data management companies, raised €108 million through 26 deals during the second quarter, double the amount invested in the same period last year despite a 28% drop in deal flow.
The “IT” industry – or traditional software – raised €215 million for 73 deals during the second quarter, an 18% decline in investment and a 17% drop in deal activity compared with the same period last year. The software sector – traditionally the most popular investment area in IT – fared well, raising €136 million through 54 deals, a 24% increase in investment despite an 8% drop in deals. This shows that traditional enterprise software is not quite dead in the age of the Cloud, although the drop in deal activity is telling.
Significantly, Anne Malterre, European research manager, Dow Jones VentureSource puts the lack of deal activity combined with investment growth down to a “lacklustre exit environment” keeping companies private for longer. The larger financing rounds come from companies need to grow, thus boosting the amount invested.
However, the data shows what we’ve been observing on the ground: VCs increased the percentage of deals done for early-stage companies and their “interest in online start-ups remained strong.”
So something has to give, somehow, at some point in terms of deal flow. Quite what that is remains to seen, but the likelihood is that this year marks the end of the recent cycle and the beginning of a new one where companies wait things out until the next round of exit opportunities present themselves. Just two examples of the end of the cycle are the recent exits of Playfire and Moonfruit. There will be others.
The full Dow Jones information is here.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been writing and thinking a lot about the future of retail. I’ve been interested in exploring the state of Australian retail and understanding why a sector that was once driven by innovation now seems so bereft of it.
In many ways, the seeds of the current retail malaise were planted during the dot com boom. At the time I was working in the IBM eBusiness Centre and can recall many meetings with retailers. There was confusion, hype and hubris (obviously a bad combination). eCommerce was still in its infancy – and was expensive to implement – back then we didn’t have the online shopping plugins for WordPress, shopping cart modules or “cloud based” online commerce providers that we do today.
Effectively the problem was one of technology.
And as the dot com boom came and went, it seemed that most retailers breathed a sigh of relief. Talk of the “death” of the bricks and mortar shopfront had been over exaggerated, and in the washup, retailers felt justified and went back to business as usual.
But innovations never rests … and the retailers took their eye off the ball. And in the background, new innovations were sweeping the global marketplace. Recommendation engines, social proof and social networks were transforming our notions of trust and technology was becoming more robust and secure.
Those retailers with an eye on the future and a toe in technology experimented, learned and innovated. They created new markets and corralled new audiences. And the whole game changed.
Now here, in Australia, after decades of neglect, condescension and bloody mindedness, the scramble is on. It seems there is a belated recognition that “online” is somehow connected to “in-store”. But it’s hard to catch a market that has been evolving and experimenting for 20 years. What can be done?
Rohit Bhargava shares 12 trends that might just provide some direction.
One of the “Fathers of the Internet,” Vint Cerf, has come out swinging against a hotly contested Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing that the US government shouldn’t take credit for inventing the Internet. “Articles like [Gordon] Crovitz’ distort history for political purposes and I hope people who want to know the real story will discount this kind of revisionist interpretation,” he says, in an interview with CNET.
While Crovitz’ WSJ article contends that Ethernet, the computer-to-computer connection technology invented by Xerox, should be credited with the creation of the web, Cerf retorts with a detailed account of how Ethernet relied upon Defense Department software for connecting different networks of computers together (hence, Inter-net).
“I would happily fertilize my tomatoes with Crovitz’ assertion,” jokes Cerf. Starting with the origins of Internet at the Defense Department’s mad scientist laboratory, ARPA, he delves in for some geeky story time,
“The United States government via ARPA started the project. (Bob Kahn initiated the Internetting project when he joined ARPA in late 1972. He had been principal architect of the ARPANET IMP (packet switch) while at BBN [Technologies]. Bob invited me to work with him on open networking in the spring of 1973. We also both worked on the ARPANET project starting in 1968,” he recalls. ARPANET, an early network that connected 4 west coast universities, along with a few other digital networks, rolled out “operationally” on January 1st, 1983.
As for Xerox’s role, Cerf says that Ethernet was an admirable technology that helped linked computers together, but “the internetworking method did not scale particularly well.”
“Ethernet was designed primarily as a local networking technology to connect computers in a home or office,” explains tech blog Ars Technica, in a more digestible format than Cerf’s acronym-laden interview. One of the real backbones of the Internet was TCP/IP, a communications standard that allowed various networks to transfer data to one another, which was based on the pioneering work of Cerf’s ARPA partner, Bob Kahn. “The point of the Internet’s TCP/IP protocol was to allow networks using different standards, including Ethernet, to communicate with each other. Many of the networks that now comprise the Internet use the Ethernet protocol, but what makes the Internet the Internet is TCP/IP, not Ethernet.”
If the government created the web, does this mean that it deserves more funding to promote innovation for the private sector? Or, could the private sector have created something similar? Share your thoughts about this on-going debate in the comments.
Image credit: Google
Veel bedrijven komen hun beloftes bij inschrijving van de nieuwsbrief niet goed na. Dat blijkt uit het benchmark rapport e-mailmarketing in financiële sector (n=167) wat deze week is uitgebracht. Van de 115 organisaties die een nieuwsbrief aanbieden, versturen er slechts 15 (13%) binnen twee weken een nieuwsbrief. 31% laat zelfs helemaal niet meer van zich horen. Daarnaast blijken veel organisaties in de Financiële branche last te hebben van sign-up leakage. Hun inschrijfproces is lek, waardoor ze onbedoeld potentiële klanten teleurstellen of zelfs kwijtraken. Lees meer over: Er gaat nog veel fout bij e-mailmarketing in de financiële sector.