Tag Archive | "purchase"

Twitter buys AdGrok to build its monetization platform

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Twitter FlockIt’s official. Twitter has acquired internet advertising startup AdGrok, founder Matthew McEachen wrote in a blog post yesterday.

AdGrok’s advertising platform simplifies the process of running internet marketing campaigns for small businesses that aren’t very familiar with the web. And while those campaigns focus on Google Adwords, the new focus will be on developing Twitter’s “monetization platform”.

“When Twitter approached us and asked if we’d be interested in working on their monetization platform, we realized that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we just couldn’t pass up,” McEachen said.

At this point its unknown what shape that platform will take, but its a good bet that it will have many of the same features and statistics found in AdGrok’d “GrokBar”, except tailored to promoted and featured tweets.

As mentioned in a previous report, the purchase of AdGrok may signal that Twitter is ready to start formulating what kind of data is relevant to performance rather than rely on third-party services to do it. One thing that is very certain is that Twitter is looking to create a much more involved advertising platform for clients wishing to promote their messages through Twitter.

Effective immediately AdGrok is closing the service to new customers and will stop charging all current clients. The service will officially be taken offline June 30, and its existing databases will be deleted. Although the company does note that all past performance data and such will still be available to view through Google Analytics.

Twitter purchased the Y Combinator-backed startup for less than $10 million, according to rumors covered by TechCrunch.


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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Big names back Project Slice’s smarter shopping inbox

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project sliceA new startup called Project Slice wants to make all those receipts in your email inbox genuinely useful. Similar to what Mint does for your personal finances, what TripIt does for your travel plans, and what services like Manilla do for your bills, the Palo Alto, Calif. company aims to make it easier to actually see all of your purchase information in one place, rather than struggling to find it on the right website or email.

Project Slice offers the service through both an embedded application in Yahoo Mail (which should help the company get in front of lots of eyeballs quickly) and through its own Slice Web application, which is currently invite-only beta testing. So the company says users will be able to easily track shipping, bring up a merchant’s customer service and return information, and see all of their purchases — not just the store where they made the purchase, but what they actually bought.

Slice can also aggregate all of your online purchase history with specific businesses, including popular retailers like Amazon.com and daily deals sites, like Groupon. The company says the service is powered by a “sophisticated semantic parsing infrastructure that enables us to extract and organize item level purchase information from multiple merchants and receipt formats.”

Project Slice also announced that it has raised $9.4 million from DCM, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Bebo co-founder Michael Birch, Floodgate (the fund from Digg and Twitter investor Mike Maples), Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, and Rick Thompson.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Twitter reportedly finalizes buyout of Tweetdeck for over $40 million

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Golden Nest EggTwitter has finalized its acquisition of immensely popular third-party client TweetDeck, according to a report by CNN Money. The report says the deal is worth more than $40 million in a mix of a cash and stock.

A few weeks ago, TechCrunch reported the first tidbits of the deal. TechCrunch initially cited a $40 million to $50 million range for the purchase, and if the CNN report holds up, TC’s first report will prove accurate.

Just last month UberMedia was supposedly in the process of buying Tweetdeck and had a 30-day exclusive to buy. But negotiations took too long, and that gave Twitter time to propose a better offer.

Tweetdeck is one of the most popular third-party client for Twitter users, with versions available for desktop, iPhone, iPad, and Android. It can display real-time tweets, direct messages, Facebook feeds, and more, all from the same interface.

Twitter says it wants to better control the user experience, and control of TweetDeck will certainly make that possible. Before this, Twitter bought iPhone client Tweetie and partnered directly with with photo-hoster TwitPic. The company is also encouraging external developers to focus on something other than straightforward Twitter clients.

The only downside to Twitter purchasing Tweetdeck will be the loss of an innovative, popular client pushing Twitter to add new features and come up with better ideas. On the upside, having Twitter and Tweetdeck on the same team could mean better and faster integration between service and client.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

HP: Debt’s Cheap, Do A $10B Buyback Now, Says Bernstein

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Sanford Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi this morning writes that the time is nigh for Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) to speed up its share repurchase, buying as much as $10 billion in one fell swoop.

Sacconaghi, who has an Outperform rating on HP shares, and a $60 price target, writes that HP needs to pursue a similar financial approach to that of IBM (IBM), assuming 3% to 4% revenue growth, improvement in operating margins, and share buybacks, in order to deliver 10% EPS growth. (He currently assumes the company will, in fact, increase EPS between this year and next year by 10%, while the Street is assuming just 7% growth.)

HP has used buybacks extensively, purchasing $7 billion to $11 billion worth of shares in four out of the last five years, notes Sacconaghi, bringing down its share count by 4% per annum from fiscal 2005 to fiscal 2010.

In an accelerated share repurchase, or ASR, which is what Sacconaghi recommends, the company would buy the shares in one transaction from a bank, which would then acquire the shares on the open market, with the two settling the difference in price. The reduction in share count happens immediately, as a result.

The most pressing reason for the purchase would be to allay fears among investors that HP will do another large acquisition, following M&A deals last year such as the purchase of 3Par for $2.3 billion and its purchase of ArcSight for $1.5 billion.

The other reasons are that debt is cheap — the company could issue $10 billion in debt to fund the deal at 3% interest, based on recent debt issuance by IBM at 1.25% for $1 billion worth of three-year notes. With $200 million in net cash on the books, among the lowest cash balance of any large tech company, nevertheless, HP could issue $10 billion and still have a debt-to-market cap ratio of 13%, which is reasonable compared to other techs, he thinks.

And an accelerated share purchase would make it easier for the company to meet its stated goal of $7 per share in earnings come fiscal 2014. At the current rate of growth, HP needs to somehow increase earnings by 12% annually, compounded, whereas with a sharp buyback, it would need only 8% to make that target.

HP shares this morning are up 19 cents, or half a point, at $36.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

Write-Offs: 04.08.11

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$$$ What a government shutdown means for Wall Street [Dealbook]

$$$ Treasury Could Furlough 92,000 [WSJ]

$$$ Platinum Equity Founder Gores to Purchase NBA’s Detroit Pistons [Bloomberg]

$$$ Lawyer Reveals Galleon Defense Strategy [WSJ]

$$$ Toxic Dollar: Why Nobody Seems to Want US Currency [CNBC]

$$$ Drinking Even a Little Bit Can Maybe Give You Cancer [Daily Intel]

$$$ If you’re looking for Saturday night plans and are hoping to run into a certain befleeced investor, this is apparently happening:

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

HP Hikes Dividend 50%; Promises ‘Full Cloud Stack’

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Shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) are up 26 cents, or 0.6%, at $41.75 in late trading after the company this afternoon announced it would raise its regular quarterly dividend 50%, to 12 cents per share per quarter, and set a goal of increasing annual payouts by “double digits,” it said.

HP made the announcement as part of its “strategy day” meeting between HP CEO Leo Apotheker and Wall Street analysts. The new rate is not applicable to the dividend that was recently declared for April 6th, which will remain at 8 cents, the company said.

A separate press release noted HP’s “four-point strategy” to combine “financial strength, unmatched scale and global reach, and market-leading positions that span from the consumer to the enterprise,” as the company put it.

The company intends to “build a full cloud stack” in hosted data centers, it said. HP plans to “be a leader” in connectivity, it said, bolstered by printers and PCs running its “WebOS” software. That software was acquired with the purchase of Palm last year, and is expected to run on two smartphones and a tablet computer, the TouchPad, due out this summer.

With a nod, perhaps, to acquisitions, Apotheker said the company would pursue a “build, buy and partner” approach to software, with a focus on structured and unstructured data analysis for “big data,” Apotheker said.

HP plans to “build upon its financial strength” by focusing growth, operational excellence and quality.

Previously: HP Strategy Day With Apotheker: What To Expect (Update), March 14th, 2011.

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

CSR Buys Zoran For $679M; 40% Premium

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Chip maker CSR PLC, based in Cambridge, U.K., and known for its GPS and Bluetooth wireless chips, said on Sunday that it intends to purchase video chip maker Zoran (ZRAN) for $679 million in CSR stock, in order to enhance CSR’s offerings for “connected” media devices such as cameras and handsets.

The offer gives Zoran shareholders 1.85 shares of CSR’s ordinary stock traded in London for each Zoran share, in the form of American Depository Shares. Zoran said in its own release that the conversion would result in a value of $13.03 to each Zoran shareholder.

CSR said the purchase price was a 39.9% premium to Zoran’s closing price of $9.32 on Nasdaq on Friday, and a 44% premium to ZRAN’s 12-month average closing price.

Zoran also said it intends to buy back up to $240 million of its stock in the next 12 months.

CSR shares fell 43 pence, or almost 10%, to 392 Great British pence in London trading Monday.

With U.S. markets closed for the Presidents Day holiday, we’ll have to wait till tomorrow to see what kind of bounce Zoran gets, as well as what kind pickup we see in some others, such as Trident Microsystems (TRID) and Pixelworks (PXLW).

Article courtesy of Tech Trader Daily

CarWoo unveils a better way to buy a car

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carwooAs the influence of the Internet creeps into more and more of our lives, the car-buying process is one of the few areas that remains untouched — at least, that’s what Tommy McClung, cofounder and chief executive of CarWoo, argues. Sure, people can do more research on the Web before they buy, but the basic process remains the same, and often painful. McClung aims to change that.

The idea behind the site is to give the buyer more control over the car-purchasing process. Instead of showing up at a few car dealerships and hoping that you can negotiate your way into a good deal, CarWoo users post what they’re looking for on the site. If you know exactly what you want, you can be very specific in your listing, including the exact model and features. If you’re less certain, or if you care more about price, the listing can be more open-ended.

Then it’s the car dealers’ turn to try to win your purchase. Local dealers can offer a price on the car, then you can continue to negotiate with them if you think they can go lower. In some versions of CarWoo, the dealers can even see each others’ bids, so they can drive down the price among each other. None of your contact information is available to the dealer, so they can’t call or email and harass you. (The approach sounds similar to what Redbeacon has done for service listings.) Finally, once you’ve found a car and a price that you like, you can make an agreement with the dealer, print out the details, and bring them to the dealership, where you pick up your car.

Even though CarWoo is officially launching today, the team has actually been working on the site for a while. It was incubated by Y Combinator last year — a fact that surprised me, since waiting a year to launch is pretty much antithetical to the philosophy of Y Combinator partner Paul Graham, who encourages startups to launch as quickly as possible. But McClung said CarWoo is an unusual case, because the team really needed to develop a market where buyers and dealers could find what they’re looking for. And thanks to this careful approach, the site has dealers from across the United States, he said.

CarWoo charges users a one-time fee of either $19 or $49, depending on how many dealers they want to compete and whether those dealers can see each others’ bids. Early users seemed to gravitate towards the more expensive plan, which is still a good value, McClung said, since they save an average $500 on their purchase.

The Burlingame, Calif. company has raised a total of $8 million, most recently in its first institutional round led by Interwest Partners. Other investors include Comcast Interactive Capital, Blumberg Capital, Accelerator Ventures, Raymond Tonsing, Dillon McDonald, Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, Delicious founder Joshua Schachter, Aydin Senkut’s Felicis Ventures (Senkut is an investor in VentureBeat), and the Founders Fund’s angel program.

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Article courtesy of VentureBeat » deals

Coinstar To Sell Money Transfer Business For $41.5 Million

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Coinstar (CSTR) said it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its money transfer business to Sigue Corp., a provider of money transfer services in the U.S. and Latin America, for $41.5 million. A portion of the purchase price will be paid through a promissory note. The deal is expected [...]

Article courtesy of BARRONS.com: Tech Trader Daily

Google To Buy Jambool?

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Google (GOOG) is acquiring Jambool, and its Social Gold payment product, according to TechCrunch, which says the purchase price is $55 million, plus a $15 million to $20 million earnout provision. Social Gold allows developers to build payments into their games and other applications. The company has raised $6 million [...]

Article courtesy of BARRONS.com: Tech Trader Daily