Tag Archives: Acquisition

Sony acquired digital media identification company Gracenote for about $260M

Sony has today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Gracenote for about $260M plus other contingent consideration. Gracenote provides a range of music-related solutions including MusicID, which detects which song is currently being played by an application and loads track information for the user. MusicID leverages a database of over 6M CDs and 80M tracks and the technology has been in works since 1995 known previously with the name CDDB.

“Gracenote is a global leader in technology and services for digital media identification, enrichment, and recommendation, and these capabilities will be essential to the next wave of innovation in content, services, and consumer electronics,” said Tim Schaaff, SCA Senior Vice President, Software. “Sony sees tremendous growth potential in developing Gracenote as a separately run business unit, and by broadly embracing Gracenote’s platforms, Sony expects to significantly enhance and accelerate its own digital content, service, and device initiatives.”

“We are very pleased to join Sony as its strategic vision is very much in line with our own,” said Craig Palmer, Gracenote CEO. “Having a closer connection with the content and digital services community will accelerate adoption of Gracenote technologies, and the relationship will also give us the resources necessary to rapidly expand development of next generation products for the industry.”

Gracenote’s existing business will continue to operate separately. As a wholly owned Sony subsidiary, Gracenote will continue to develop new technologies in existing as well as new areas of operation. The senior management team will remain with the company. Sony and Gracenote anticipate that the transaction will close in late May, subject to certain regulatory and other approvals.

Many consumer music app services Apple iTunes, Yahoo! Music Jukebox, and Winamp use Gracenote for their music detection capabilities. Other consumer electronic brands are also associated with the company such as SonyEricsson, Philips Wireless Music Systems, Cadillac, Apple iPod, among others. 

More about Gracenote

Gracenote is a global leader in embedded technology, enriched content, and data services for digital entertainment solutions within the Internet, consumer electronics, mobile, and automotive markets. Formerly known as CDDB®, Gracenote delivers a substantially improved consumer experience in digital media devices and applications, plus media monitoring and other data services to the recording industry, making it an integral part of the digital media economy. Gracenote powers leading services including Apple iTunes, Yahoo! Music Jukebox, Winamp; home and automotive products from Alpine, Panasonic, Philips and Sony; and mobile music applications from Samsung, Sony Ericsson, KDDI (Japan), KTF (Korea), Musiwave (Europe), and others. Gracenote is headquartered in Emeryville, California.

Founders

Steve Scherf, Co-Founder & Chief Architect/Vice President of Service Development
Steve Scherf and business partner Ti Kan created the CDDB compact disc recognition service as a hobby in 1995 in order to get personal computers to display information about the CDs they were playing. To their surprise, the service became overwhelmingly popular, prompting them to found CDDB LLC in 1998. Later that year the company was acquired by Escient LLC, and the name was changed to Gracenote. After the acquisition, Scherf took on the role of Chief Architect for all Gracenote services. Scherf has since been the driving force behind nearly every fundamental Gracenote technology, cementing his position as one of the main pioneers of media recognition. Scherf personally designed and built the lion’s share of the current incarnation of the Gracenote service, a modular system that is extremely flexible, scalable and massively redundant, and is capable of easily incorporating new services as the need arises. He architected, designed, and developed the technology behind other Gracenote online products, such as Link, Discover, Music Enrichment, the MusicID® search engine, and others. In addition, Scherf has assimilated a number of third-party recognition technologies into the Gracenote suite, such as Mobile MusicID, re-implementing and improving them from the ground up. His pioneering work in media recognition also forms the basis of Gracenote’s embedded offerings. Prior to co-founding Gracenote, Scherf worked as Unix kernel developer for such companies as Altos Computer Systems, Acer America and Stratus Computer, delving into file systems, I/O performance, SCSI subsystems, networking and fault tolerance. Scherf graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1988 with a B.A. in Math and Biology.

Dale (Ty) Roberts, Co-Founder
Ty Roberts is widely recognized as one of the inventors of enhanced CD technology and is accredited with producing the industry’s first enhanced CDs. He joined Gracenote in November of 1998 after the company acquired ION, a multimedia and music technology company that he founded in 1993. Roberts serves as Gracenote’s chief technology strategist, providing technology direction and overseeing the creation of products and services that leverage the power of the Gracenote database to deliver information services. While at ION, Roberts produced the recording industry’s first enhanced audio CD titles, including David Bowie’s “Jump” and “Headcandy” from Brian Eno. He was the company’s lead technologist and innovator in adding multimedia content to traditional audio CDs. ION was also widely recognized as a leading provider of enhanced CD production tools utilized by recording and multimedia development companies. In September 1993, Bertelsmann Music Group created the first interactive record label after acquiring a 50 percent interest in ION. Prior to founding ION, Roberts was a founder and senior manager of LightSource, a software development company that produced multimedia and graphics editing software. Previously, he was a senior engineer at Pixar, where he created several award winning, Apple-based music applications including “Studio Session” and “Jam Session.” Roberts is Gracenote’s representative to the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), organization that is chartered with establishing standards for di gital music and music playing devices.

Ann Greenberg, Co-Founder
A pioneer in the online world, Ms. Greenberg is an inventor on seven U.S. patents, related to the delivery of content synchronized to audio recordings. She joined Gracenote in November of 1998 after the company acquired ION, a multimedia and music technology company that she founded in 1993. Greenberg served as Sr. Vice President of Marketing, Business and Strategic Development during her tenure at Gracenote until October 2001. No longer affiliated with Gracenote, Ms. Greenberg currently works as an independent consultant in the Bay Area. While at ION, Ms. Greenberg produced the recording industry’s first enhanced audio CD titles, including David Bowie’s “Jump” and “Headcandy” from Brian Eno. Greenberg designed the Jump’s groundbreaking interactive video, and produced the world’s first musician-hosted chat with David Bowie in 1994 – a format that has become standard practice in launching albums. Greenberg transitioned ION’s enhanced CD technology and business models into implementations that use the Web and are being utilized at Gracenote today. Prior to founding ION, Greenberg was the head of marketing for the Academy Award winning Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation, whose over 60 films include: Wall Street, True Stories, Talk Radio, Reversal of Fortune, Hoffa, Bad Lieutenant, The Crow and Judge Dredd. Ms. Greenberg studied Architecture and Cinema and earned a degree in Creative Arts & Cinema from California State University at San Francisco.

Scott A. Jones – Chairman of the Board and co-Founder
Scott Jones carefully sculpted the Gracenote company into existence by acquiring pivotal enabling technologies from CDDB, ION, Escient, Quintessential Player, and Cantametrix. He served as the company’s Chairman/CEO from 1998 to 2001 and is now Chairman of the Board. Jones raised significant capital, recruited a talented management team, contributed technology and intellectual property, and strategically guided Gracenote to pursue market segments that are the foundation of the Company’s success.

More about Sony Corporation of America

Sony Corporation of America, based in New York, NY, is a U.S. subsidiary of Sony Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo. Sony is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, communications, and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Its motion picture, television, computer entertainment, music and online businesses make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. Sony’s principal U.S. businesses include Sony Electronics Inc., Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., and a 50% interest in Sony BMG Music Entertainment, one of the largest recorded music companies in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $70.3 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007, and it employs 163,000 people worldwide. Sony’s consolidated sales in the U.S. for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007 were $18.9 billion. 

More

http://www.gracenote.com/
http://www.gracenote.com/company_info/press/042208/
https://doors.gracenote.com/developer/
http://www.sony.com
http://www.sony.com/SCA/index.shtml
http://www.streetinsider.com/Press%2BReleases/Sony%2BCorporation%2Bof%2BAmerica%2Bto%2BAcquire%2BGracenote/3566949.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/04/22/sony-buys-gracenote-for-260m/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/gracenote
http://www.techmeme.com/080422/p141#a080422p141
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital_Music_Initiative

Pluck acquired by Demand Media

Demand Media, a major buyer and operator of Internet domain name companies, has announced just a few days ago it has acquired the Austin-based social media company Pluck after about reportedly two months of negotiations. The price is $75M in all cash deal. Pluck revenues are around $10 million/year and the company has raised $17 million in three rounds of funding, which makes the deal a nice exit for Pluck’s investors among which are Austin Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Reuters. Michael Arrington from Techcrunch however does not seem to agree with that constatation and calls it that way: VCs who aim for 3x their money tend to go out of business.

Pluck, a provider of social media tools and technologies, is serving more than 200 media websites, which are reaching over 100M users, and serving over 1.5 billion interactions per month. The acquisition expands Demand Media’s social media platform beyond its owned network of web sites to power leading media properties and brands worldwide including Gannett/USA TODAY, Guardian Unlimited, Hearst Corporation, Fox, The Washington Post, Scotts and Circuit City.

“We founded the company with a vision for expanding social media beyond the traditional social networking portals. To that end, we have acquired and developed the components necessary to create, distribute and monetize web sites and content,” said Richard Rosenblatt, co-founder, CEO and chairman of Demand Media. “Now, we are ready to expand the platform and model beyond our proprietary network. Pluck provides the technologies, people and partners to accomplish this vision.”

Demand Media’s social media platform currently supports more than 64 million unique visitors per month according to the company’s own Google Analytics data from January 2008. The platform features multiple social media applications such as social Q&A and a vast wholly-owned and rights-cleared content library of Pro Amateur text and video. All this will be enhanced by Pluck’s widget and API-based social media technologies.

“This combination will allow us to provide our customers with an even broader suite of social media products and monetizable content,” said Dave Panos, CEO of Pluck and executive vice president for Demand Media. “The combined expertise of our two companies in platform technology development, content creation and community management is truly un-matched.”

Since its inception in May 2006, Demand Media has raised over $350 million in equity capital and pioneered a new formula for building an interactive media company. Through its social media platform, Demand Media has grown its vertical network into one of the Internet’s largest.

Pluck was founded in 2003 and built a world-class social media platform that enables leading publishers, brands, and retailers to grow their audiences by seamlessly integrating content, community and social media technologies directly into their existing web properties.

More about Pluck

A leader in social media software solutions, Pluck helps transform how publishers, retailers and major brands engage their audiences and customers to discover, create and distribute information online. Providing the technologies for content generation, syndication, social networking and news personalization, Pluck helps its customers more easily consume and leverage the new open content model that has emerged as the cornerstone of Web 2.0.

Products
If your goal is to drive brand recognition and revenue by leveraging the power of user contributions and interaction on your web site, Pluck offers a complete suite of rich Social Media products called SiteLife. Ready for embedding into any web site, SiteLife helps build vibrant communities of active bloggers, citizen journalists and consumers while driving the creation of new content, traffic and repeat visits.

For bloggers and publishers, Pluck offers BlogBurst, a syndication service that places blogs on top-tier online destinations. With BlogBurst, publishers weave the rich and diverse fabric of the blogosphere into their sites to drive site traffic, while bloggers gain visibility and grow their audience and reach.

Management Team

Pluck was co-founded in 2003 by Dave Panos and Andrew Busey, two executives with entrepreneurial experience in some of the industry’s earliest efforts in instant messaging, real-time collaboration, e-commerce, and e-learning. Meet the Pluck management team.

Dave Panos – Chief Executive Officer, Co-founder
 
A software industry veteran with more than 16 years of start-up experience, Dave has helped define new markets across a range of Internet and Enterprise sectors. He co-founded Pluck as a Venture Partner at Austin Ventures. Previously, he was a co-founder and executive vice president for B2B eCRM provider Question Technologies (sold to Motive). For seven years, he was vice president of marketing and business development at web collaboration pioneer DataBeam before their successful sale to Lotus/IBM. Previously, Mr. Panos ran product management at Easel Corporation, a popular software development tool company that went public. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School and his undergraduate degree from Furman University.

Will Ballard – Vice President and CTO
 
In his role as Chief Technical Officer at Pluck, Will oversees a team of 20 engineers responsible for the company’s software architecture, design, development and quality assurance. He is also responsible for the design and operation of the growing data center that runs key aspects of site services for Pluck customers, including Hearst Magazines, WashingtonPost.com, TheStreet.com and Cox Newspapers. Prior to joining Pluck, Will served in a variety of software development leadership roles where he designed and managed the development of massively scalable, high-velocity software platforms at NetSpeed (now Cisco), the outsourced network management and security provider for more than 10,000 businesses; NetSpend, high availability provider of credit card transaction services for leading financial institutions; and Works.com (now Bank of America), the automated corporate purchasing solution for corporate treasury operations.

Ken Nicolson – Chief Marketing Officer
 
As Chief Marketing Officer, Ken leads market and product expansion for Pluck social media platforms to further serve the audience engagement and analytics needs of digital publishers and advertisers around the globe. Prior to joining Pluck, Ken served as president and CEO at Veridiem, a software firm that helped global brands plan, measure and optimize their return on marketing investments. Before joining Veridiem, Ken served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Alphablox Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based analytics applications. He has also served in executive marketing positions at Kiva Software, Red Brick Systems, Informix and IBM. Ken received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Duke University.

Rachel Brush – Vice President of Operations and Content Services
 
As vice president of Operations and Content Services, Rachel oversees finance, legal and human resource operations for Pluck in the U.S. and Europe. She also leads the editorial and account management teams for the BlogBurst™ syndication network, which serves content from more than 4,000 top bloggers to leading media sites around the world. Before joining Pluck, Rachel spent eight years in leadership roles at Hoover’s, Inc., where she held various senior management positions, including serving as vice president of Content and vice president of Customer Operations and Quality. Previously Rachel worked in retail operations for industry giants, including Ann Taylor, LensCrafters and The Limited. Rachel holds a BA in English from The University of Texas at Austin and is pursuing an MBA in Operations and Business Management at St. Edward’s University. Rachel is also an Advisory Board Member of The Periwinkle Foundation, which provides summer camps and other activities for children with cancer.

Eric Newman – General Manager
 
Eric has a history of delivering successful embedded solutions for leading Internet and software companies. Prior to joining Pluck, Eric ran product management for data integration provider Pervasive (PVSW). He previously served as vice president of marketing at Powered, a provider of embedded internet marketing solutions. He was also director of portal solutions at AskJeeves (ASKJ) and served in various management roles at Lotus/DataBeam and Convergys. Eric earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his undergraduate degree in Marketing and Management Information Systems from the University of Cincinnati.

Steve Semelsberger – Vice President, Sales & Business Development
 
Steve manages the team responsible for global revenue and partnerships. Prior to Pluck, he spent nearly six years with Motive (MOTV) in Director roles over Alliances, EMEA and Segment Marketing, helping the firm grow to ~$100M in revenue and complete an IPO in 2004. Previous experience in Steve’s 15-year career includes product management, marketing and sales positions with iChat, NetRatings and several media and services companies. He holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Spain’s IESE, along with a BS in management from Binghamton University.

Stephanie Himoff – Vice President of UK Sales and Business Development
 
As vice president of UK sales and business development, Stephanie will direct UK and European sales operations. Stephanie brings to Pluck over a decade of experience spearheading the growth of Internet businesses in Europe. Most recently she worked with US-based travel search site, SideStep, on its expansion in the UK. Previously Stephanie served in executive management positions for European operations at DirectoryM, a premier online advertising network used by top publishers, including Newsweek and ZDNet. Stephanie also served as Managing Director in the UK and France for AltaVista, a web search company now owned by Overture, a division of Yahoo. She holds an MBA and a BA from the University of San Francisco as well as a masters in French from IESEG.

Adam Weinroth – Director of Product Marketing
 
Leading product marketing for Pluck, Adam plays a central role in formulating the vision, definition and delivery of the company’s syndication and publisher software services including the groundbreaking BlogBurst syndication network and SiteLife Social Media Suite. Adam joined the company in 2005 when Pluck acquired Easyjournal, a community blog publishing platform which Adam founded and grew to more than 100,000 registered users. Prior to creating Easyjournal in 2002, Adam held leadership roles in new product development and technology marketing with Mediatruck and IntelliQuest. Adam has a BBA in Marketing and an MBA focusing on Technology Marketing Strategy from The University of Texas at Austin.

Pluck is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and has received funding from Austin Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Reuters. Company was more known as rss software focused one when they started back in 2003.

More about Demand Media, Inc.

Demand Media™ is a leading social media company that provides an interactive, personalized and vertically-focused media experience for over 64 million unique users. By using its proprietary social media tools and the unique distribution platform of the world’s second largest domain registrar, the company connects content creators and audiences to grow its network of vertical media web properties. The privately held company was founded in May 2006 and is based in Santa Monica, CA, with offices in Bellevue, WA, Austin, TX and San Francisco, CA.

Demand Media was founded by former MySpace CEO Richard Rosenblatt. The company has been buying content sites and is rumored to be in preparations for a possible 2009 IPO, if and when the economy recovers. Their last round, $100M, was announced in September 2007. They’ve raised a total of more than $350M to date.

More

http://www.demandmedia.com/
http://www.pluck.com/
http://www.pluck.com/press/PluckPR-030408-Acquisition.html
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/03/04/demand-media-buys-pluck-for-50-million-to-60-million/
http://www.quantcast.com/pluck.com
http://siteanalytics.compete.com/pluck.com/?metric=uv
http://www.austinventures.com/
http://www.mayfield.com/
http://www.reuters.com/
http://riverace.statesmanblogs.com/
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/pluck
http://www.demandmedia.com/demand-media-executives.asp
http://www.richard.tv/
http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSWEN431620080305

InfoSpace has sold its mobile unit for $135M to Motricity, the second prepares to go public

One of the Internet’s oldest companies InfoSpace is probably not performing well since they are largely selling out their businesses. With its switchboard and local directory business having already been sold to Idearc for reportedly $225M, what’s left of InfoSpace was the mobile services division, which serves up managed services infrastructure for mobile carriers. This involves the technology needed for mobile search, storefronts, messaging services and portals. This sale appears to leave InfoSpace with only its Dogpile and other desktop search properties, which have a very small market share. One can’t help but think that CEO Jim Volker and his team are selling off the company piece by piece — because that’s literally what seems to be happening.

InfoSpace Inc. is publicly traded company on NASDAQ with $346M market capitalization where the 52 week high / low is $27.76 and $8.14 respectively. The revenues have dropped to $140.54M for 2007 from $153.80M in 2006. During the first weeks of the current year the InfoSpace’s shares have slightly grown up on 4Q results rise from year ago on the assets sale.

A couple of months ago Motricity, a mobile content solutions service, has acquired the mobile services business unit of InfoSpace for what is said to be $135M in an all cash transaction. From what we have found out it seems the acquisition is being funded largely by Carl Icahn and Advanced Equities since the company has then announced the completion of its $185M a round of funding, which was led by Advanced Equities, Inc., Carl Icahn and New Enterprise Associates, Inc.

Ryan Wuerch is said will stay on as Chairman and CEO of Motricity and Steve Selman, the current executive vice president of InfoSpace’s mobile services business unit, will be appointed as President, Chief Operating Officer of Motricity. With the deal, Motricity will gain access to InfoSpace’s clients, which already includes AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Alltel, and more.

“Two of the best companies in the industry are now being integrated to create the premier provider of mobile platform infrastructure,” said Ryan Wuerch, chairman and CEO of Motricity. “We have unparalleled experience in mobile platform development, systems integration, innovation and building world class technology with a proven ability to scale – powering the mobile marketplace including the largest operators and media companies in North America and Europe.”

The acquisition expands Motricity’s customer base to include 11 of the top 13 carriers in North America including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, Bell Mobility, Tracfone and Alltel. Motricity’s managed service infrastructure powers storefronts and communities for 9 of the top 13 carriers in North America and has generated over $1 billion of gross content sales to date. Motricity now powers 5 of the top 6 carrier “start screens” with its mobile portal product which will support billions of page views this year alone. The transaction enhances Motricity’s FuelTM platform, which is a unified suite of solutions that includes content storefront, portal, search, community and messaging services. In addition, it expands Motricity’s international presence by adding offices in the U.K., Paris, and the Netherlands and leading customers throughout Europe including Virgin UK, KPN and Vodafone.

Experts are saying the company is in preparation to go public at near future and such consolidation of their core business in terms of more mobile content, more carriers signed up, more revenues and the reach is perhaps the key towards that direction.

More about InfoSpace Inc.

InfoSpace, Inc. [NASDAQ:INSP] s a developer of tools and technologies that assist consumers with finding content and information on the Internet or mobile phone. The Company uses its technology, including metasearch, to power its own branded Websites and provide private-label online search and directory services to distribution partners. In addition, its mobile applications provide programming and sales opportunities to the Company’s mobile carrier partners, while providing consumers with relevant mobile functionality and mobile media content, including ringtones, graphics and games. The Company operates through two units: Online, which comprises the Company’s search and directory properties, as well as its private label distribution service, and Mobile services, including portal, storefront, messaging and mobile search. InfoSpace maintains facilities in the Los Angeles, California; Westborough, Massachusetts; Woking and Eastleigh, United Kingdom, and Papendrecht, The Netherlands.

Our mission is to make the discovery of information faster, easier, and more relevant. We’ve been doing it for over 10 years. Now, with more than 100 distribution partners and proven relationships with Google, Yahoo!, Ask, and Windows Live Search, InfoSpace is uniquely equipped to be a leader in the rapidly growing Internet search market. In fact, the recent sale of our Mobile and Directory divisions has solidified our focus and leadership solely in the online space.

Better Results with Metasearch Technology
By delivering best-of-the-best results from the Internet’s top search engines, our metasearch technology separates us from competitors and provides an experience that users prefer. Research backs it up.

For the second consecutive year, our leading metasearch site, Dogpile, has been awarded “Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Internet Users with Primary Search Engines/Functions.” And when users are presented with more meaningful information, they’re more likely to click a result—which leads to increased revenue for advertisers and listings partners.

We have established offerings in two different areas:

Consumer Products
Our four branded search sites include our flagship metasearch engine, Dogpile, as well as MetaCrawler, WebCrawler, and WebFetch.

Our metasearch technology delivers end users the most relevant results on the Web by searching more than 12 of the top search engines, including Google, Yahoo!, Ask, Windows Live Search, and more.

Business Solutions
We provide customized metasearch solutions, downloadable toolbars, and portal services for destination sites, Internet service providers, and international news organizations.

Our private-label solutions help partners quickly and cost-effectively tap into the profit potential of search and online local advertising by providing search capabilities and services under their own brand.

More about Motricity

Motricity is a leading provider of mobile content services and solutions that enable consumers to receive the right content at the right time, every time. The company’s offerings span the content delivery chain, enabling compelling end user experiences and delivering profitable and reliable mobile content offerings for mobile operators, media and entertainment companies, mobile specialists and more. Motricity’s customers include 11 of the top 13 carriers in North America and 20 of the top television networks with marquee partners such as MTV, BET, Turner, AT&T, Alltel, Bell Mobility and others. Products and services range from mobile portals and storefronts to messaging aggregation with access to more than 200 million mobile subscribers.

Motricity now emerges as the only company with proven and scalable offerings across multiple key mobile content solution categories, including: storefronts, search, managed-web, portals, messaging, content aggregation, marketing campaign management and community solutions. By offering these world-class services, Motricity is able to create compelling user experiences and deliver profitable mobile content services to companies seeking to leverage the emerging mobile channel, interact with consumers and build brand loyalty.

In addition, Motricity operates a network of consumer Web sites that offer applications for mobile devices, including: eReader.com, PalmGear.com, Pocketgear.com, Smartphone.net, SymbianGear.com and Mobile2day.de, and powers similar web sites for customers such as the Sony Ericsson application shop, the Palm Software Connection and the PalmSource shop.

The company is headquartered in Durham, N.C., with offices in Bellevue, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Munich and the Netherlands.

Motricity was formed in 2001 by Ryan Wuerch and has since become a leading provider of mobile content services and solutions.

In 2001, Wuerch founded Nashville, Tennessee-based PowerByHand, which would soon become the leading global provider of information, entertainment and education content for handheld and mobile devices. PowerByHand acquired a number of leading commercial Internet sites, including PalmGear.com in October 2002, eReader.com in September 2003 and PocketGear.com and Smartphone.net in March 2004.

In April, 2004, PowerByHand merged with Pinpoint Networks, a provider of software and services for the management and delivery of mobile data services, based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The new company combined PowerByHand’s consumer reach and strong content and developer partnerships with Pinpoint’s carrier-grade technology and international wireless carrier experience, creating the market leader for integrated mobile content solutions.

In October, 2004, the company changed its name to Motricity and announced the acquisition of European mobile content portal Mobile2Day.de. The Mobile2Day.de acquisition complemented Motricity’s content base of more than 60,000 applications by adding an additional 6,000 Symbian applications and localized cross-platform content for the European market while expanding our network of online mobile content storefronts. Throughout 2005, Motricity generated tremendous momentum and excitement, announcing a number of major customer and financial wins while also expanding globally and successfully entering new markets. In October 2004, Motricity closed $27 million in venture funding led by Silicon Valley-based Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV).

In July, 2005, Motricity closed its second major private funding round by collecting $30 million from Chicago-based Advanced Equities Inc., as well as such existing investors as Technology Crossover Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Intel Capital.

In August, 2005, Motricity announced the acquisition of M7 Networks, the leading provider of advanced wireless services that connect wireless operators, content providers and end users around mobile content based communities, such as games and music. This acquisition strengthened Motricity’s mission to accelerate the adoption of mobile content worldwide.

In April, 2006, Motricity secured its third major round of funding of $40 million to fuel the company’s aggressive expansion in the mobile content industry. This third round was led by Advanced Equities Inc. with participation from other existing investors including New Enterprise Associates and Technology Crossover Ventures.

In July, 2006, Motricity announced the acquisition of GoldPocket Wireless, the leading provider of mobile technology solutions for media and entertainment companies. GoldPocket extended Motricity’s content distribution capabilities and enhances Motricity’s award-winning Fuel™ platform with a distribution gateway that connects more than 200 million subscribers and a mobile marketing campaign manager that has been chosen by over 20 television networks and 45 media companies to power large scale interactive campaigns with real-time requirements. The deal gave Motricity an unmatched customer footprint and positions the company as the leading provider of on-deck and off-deck solutions for mobile operators and media & entertainment companies.

In August, 2006, Motricity received an additional $32 million in funding, led by Advanced Equities Inc. with participation from other existing investors. In February 2007, Motricity received $50 million in equity funding from Carl Icahn. This brings the company’s total funding to over $200 million.

In December, 2007, the company acquired the Seattle-based mobile services business unit of InfoSpace, Inc. (NASDAQ: INSP), a leading developer of mobile technologies and infrastructure services and raised more than $180 million to complete the all cash transaction.

The acquisition expands Motricity’s customer base to include 11 of the top 13 carriers in North America including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, Bell Mobility, Tracfone and Alltel. Motricity’s managed service infrastructure powers storefronts and communities for 9 of the top 13 carriers in North America and has generated over $1 billion of gross content sales to date. Motricity powers 5 of the top 6 carrier “start screens” with its mobile portal product which will support billions of page views this year alone. The transaction enhances Motricity’s FuelTM platform, which is a unified suite of solutions that includes content storefront, portal, search, community and messaging services. In addition, it expands Motricity’s international presence by adding leading customers throughout Europe including Virgin UK, KPN and Vodafone.

Motricity has received numerous awards and constant recognition honoring the commitment and leadership that the company continues to exhibit, including:

  • 2007 North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA) Private Company of the Year
  • 2006 GSM Association Award for Best Service Delivery Platform
  • 2006 Mobile Entertainment’s Award for Best Content Service Delivery Platform
  • 2005 Frost & Sullivan Award for Premium Mobile Content Platform of the Year
  • 2005 Red Herring 100 Private Companies of North America

Today, Motricity has the support of strong institutional and strategic investors and the industry’s leading customers, including CBS, Turner, CNN, Fox, the NBA, AT&T, Sprint, Alltel, Virgin Mobile, Leap, Mobilcom, BET, Palm and Sony Ericsson.

More

http://motricity.com/
http://www.motricity.com/press/releases.php?rID=07_1228_motricity
http://www.infospaceinc.com/
http://mashable.com/2007/10/15/motricity-infospace/
http://searchengineland.com/071015-132510.php
http://www.idearc.com/
http://searchengineland.com/070917-073055.php
http://finance.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:INSP
http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2008/02/06/afx4622765.html
http://moneycentral.msn.com/inc/news/providerredir.asp?feed=AP&date=20080206&id=8148999
http://stocks.us.reuters.com/stocks/fullDescription.asp?rpc=66&symbol=INSP.O
http://www.advancedequities.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Icahn

An acquisition within the 3-D modeling space

While everybody is waiting to see what is going to happen between Microsoft and Yahoo, the first made yet another technology acquisition – bought the 3D modeling and animation software company called Caligari to further improve its Virtual Earth. Caligari appears to be not the typical web 2.0 company one might think of at first reading – they have been established back in 1986. Terms, typically for Microsoft’s small buys, were not disclosed.

Roman Ormandy, the CEO of Caligari (he has personally very interesting story which you can ready below), stated in a post yesterday in his company’s online forum that his staff as well as the people tasked with building Virtual Earth since the start are committed to a vision ensuring a “long-term commitment to the 3D Web.”

Caligari offers a range of products for 3D enthusiasts and illustrators, researchers and design engineers. All of Caligari’s products feature an immersive real-time interface that allows users to intuitively and directly manipulate objects in a fully-rendered 3D space, thus enhancing and accelerating the overall design process.

The motivation behind this deal seems quite clear – competing with Google and its popular Google Earth/Maps developments.

Interesting fact to note is that in a similar move Google has acquired a similar company back in 2006 called SketchUp, which is also 3-D modeling software that is now used to place 3-D objects inside Google Earth.

The company is based in Mountain View, CA.

The company was founded in 1986 by Roman Ormandy. A prototype 3D video animation package for the Amiga Computer, which led to the incorporation of Octree Software in 1986. From 1988 to 1992, Octree released several software packages including Caligari1, Caligari2, Caligari Broadcast, and Caligari 24. Caligari wanted to provide inexpensive yet professional industrial video and corporate presentation software. In 1993 Octree Software moved from New York to California and became known as Caligari Corporation. In 1994 trueSpace 1.0 was introduced on the Windows platform.

Interesting videos for trueSpace can be seen on YouTube.

More about Caligari Corporation

Founded in 1986, Caligari Corporation is one of the pioneers of 3D modeling and animation. Throughout our history, Caligari has focused on providing powerful, intuitive and affordable tools that enable users to communicate visually, whether the end product is a web page, a fully-rendered image, a 3D model or an interactive simulation. Today, we continue to drive innovation to the 3D authoring process in markets that range from design and engineering to biomedicine and entertainment. The release of trueSpace7 has opened new doors in 3D by providing our users with something that no other 3D company has ever offered: real-time collaborative authoring.

Caligari offers a range of products to satisfy everyone from 3D enthusiasts to illustrators, researchers and design engineers. All of Caligari’s products feature an immersive real-time interface that allows users to intuitively and directly manipulate objects in a fully-rendered 3D space, thus enhancing and accelerating the design process.

In January of 2006, after 20 years of uninterrupted development, Caligari released the 12th generation of its flagship product, trueSpace. Not only has Caligari enhanced the award-winning modeling, surfacing and rendering capabilities of trueSpace; we have revolutionized the way 3D content is created, communicated and shared with others. trueSpace7 is the only 3D authoring product on the market to offer all aspects of real-time design, modeling and animation within a virtual 3D space shared by remote participants over the broadband internet. trueSpace7’s easy-to-use authoring tools are seamlessly integrated into the underlying collaborative process. The trueSpace7 collaboration server enables multiple participants to connect to a shared 3D space to create and manipulate shared content in real-time.

Other products include gameSpace and iSpace. gameSpace offers game artists high-end 3D authoring capabilities at a low-end price. gameSpace provides all the tools game artists need for modeling, texturing, animating, UV mapping, and more; and comes with the built-in ability to export content to multiple game engine formats.

iSpace is an innovative 3D web graphics solution that allows web developers to easily create stunning 3D web pages in HTML and Macromedia Flash format. With iSpace, web designers can import existing 2D HTML pages, convert them into 3D and enhance their layout with easy-to-use styles and graphical elements such as buttons, lights, animations and 3D text. iSpace is also a complete assembly platform, allowing the user to combine .jpg, .gif, and Flash files in the same workspace to quickly and easily create integrated HTML outputs.

The Founder

Born in 1955 in Czechoslovakia, Roman Ormandy obtained an advanced degree in Computer science from Komensky University in Bratislava in 1980. He then undertook post-graduate studies in artificial intelligence, psychology and linguistics at Charles University in Prague. In 1981, he received a research fellowship in the University’s Laboratory for Computational Linguistics.

Later that same year, Ormandy defected to Italy while on “holiday” in Yugoslavia. He spent several months in an Italian refugee camps while his wife, Bibiana, was still in Czechoslovakia. A year later Ormandy was joined in America by Bibiana and their 18-month old son, whom he had never seen, after their dramatic flight across the Yugoslavian border.

Ormandy’s first job in the United States was in a suitcase factory making cases for Apple IIC computers. He then worked in the computer lab of Lexington School for the deaf while attending the graduate program in Computer Science at City University in New York. In 1983, he landed a job programming IBM graphics software for educational applications for Classroom Consortia Media. While here, he authored two educational applications and BrainChild, a software game design for the IBM PC Jr. In 1985, Ormandy became a computer graphics consultant for Edwin Schlossberg Inc., designing interactive laser disc applications and other components of the information system for Manhattans’ World Financial Center.

Ormandy began working on the prototype for a 3D video animation package for the Amiga computer in 1985. The prototype generated intense interest following a preview of Siggraph ’86 Conference. In the fall of 1986, Ormandy incorporated Octree Software, initially working part-time to get his new company off the ground. In 1988 he switched to full-time with the introduction of Caligari, aimed at the industrial video, design and corporate presentation markets. Ormandy grew very interested in creating a more realistic user interface to optimize human physiology and inspired by the belief that creativity would be radically increased if the designer was given direct contact with 3D objects in the workspace.

Two years later, Caligari Broadcast was introduced, offering professional quality 3D animation at a fraction of the cost of comparable systems. Because of its real-time, direct manipulation of objects in real-life perspective, Caligari allowed the computer user to transcend the 2D environment and explore new creative territory of its own.

In April, 1994, Caligari further revolutionized the 3D market by introducing trueSpace 1.0 for Windows, a powerful, usable 3D modeling, rendering and animation package that combined real-time direct manipulation of objects and professional-quality output with an easy-to-learn, icon-based interface. trueSpace’s affordable price, seamlessly integrated organic modeling, photorealistic ray-tracing, broadcast-quality animation and unprecedented ease-of-creation modeling tools created a phenomenon of response in the adolescent 3D market. Its highly usable VR-style immersive interface encouraged experimentation, stimulated creativity and gave users the ability to create stunning renderings and animation easily.

Today the award-winning trueSpace legacy continues unbroken, with the latest version, trueSpace7, still based on the same principles of making professional power available to users while keeping the software easy to use and affordable. Caligari has also expanded the product range to include gameSpace, which allows users to create 3D content for games, and truePlace, an on-line meeting place for social networking, distance learning, and collaboration.

Roman Ormandy and Caligari’s introduction of trueSpace helped redefine how people can create and communicate in media. He believes one of the most far-reaching possibilities is the creation of a new form of knowledge repository based not on symbols, but living, breathing 3D objects encapsulating knowledge into code and shared in collaborative on-line environments.

More

http://www.caligari.com/
http://forums1.caligari.com/truespace/showthread.php?p=59557#post59557
http://mashable.com/2008/02/07/microsoft-acquires-caligari-3d/
http://virtualearth.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!2BBC66E99FDCDB98!11432.entry
http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/02/07/microsoft-buys-caligari-to-pimp-up-virtual-earth/
http://www.caligari.com/Gallery/Animations/2007/jan/anim/2912.wmv
http://sketchup.google.com/
http://www.engadget.com/2007/03/07/playstation-home-revealed/
http://redmondspy.blogspot.com/2008/02/microsoft-kauft-3d-experten-caligari.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TrueSpace
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=search_videos&search_query=truespace&search_sort=&search_category=0&page=4
http://lunadude.com/rsrc_trueSpace.htm

Naspers acquires yet another European company – Tradus

Simply put a fallen dot com star with eBay ambitious, once worth more than 2B British pound (around $4B) and collapsed down to £62M at the end of 2000 is now being basically said rescued by a South African media company that is spending money at breakneck pace. The offered price is £946M (more than $1.8B) based on just £60M annual revenues.

A month after Naspers acquired the Polish chat site Gadu Gadu for roughly $155M the media company from RSA is now making a major acquisition step in Europe. Naspers bid to buy the European online auction site Tradus for £946M. Naspers valued Tradus at nearly $2 Billion, which is 26.7% higher than the average share price during Naspers’ most recent half-year.

Some analysts compared the Naspers deal with the deal of eBay for Skype in 2005 – in other words overpaying for the purpose of its own expansion. With this deal Naspers said it is going to switch focus from operations on only ad-supported Web businesses to transaction-based e-commerce services.

In focusing on Internet expansion, Naspers has established a new company called MIH Internet, which operates under its Myriad International Holdings division. This makes sense for MIH to handle the acquisition of Tradus, as MIH already dabbles in emerging markets on a global scale, including M-Web and Tencent, among others.

Tradus, previously known as QXL Ricardo, has backed an £18-a-share offer from Africa’s largest media company, the owner of the Daily Sun newspaper and the pay-TV firm Multichoice, as part of its strategy for Internet expansion. The deal represents a 19 per cent premium on Tradus’s price of 1,510p a share, when the company first announced it was in takeover discussions on 6 November, and comes amid a renewed interest in online companies.

Tradus conducts online auctions across 12 European countries, mostly Eastern Europe. It was founded by a former Financial Times journalist, Tim Jackson, in 1997 and, after listing on the stock market in 1999, its value soared to £2 Billion in early 2000 on hopes it would become the European eBay. But just eight months later, it was worth only £62M as Internet stocks crashed.

Cobus Stofberg, Naspers’ chief executive, said: “The operations of the Naspers Group and Tradus complement each other perfectly, and significant advantages can be obtained by aligning Tradus’s businesses with Naspers’ other internet investments in Central and Eastern Europe.”

The deal, due to be completed by March, requires approval from Tradus shareholders, but the board has recommended investors accept the offer. Shares in the FTSE 250-listed group rose 12 per cent to £18.15.

Tradus was the subject of a failed takeover battle in 2005 between members of its management team and the consortium Florissant, backed by the UK private equity firm Novator.

Tradus’s pre-tax profits rose 28 per cent to £7.7M on revenues of £30.6M in the six months to the end of September.

An extremely positive deal for Tradus’ shareholders, the purchase is less obviously so for Naspers’. It earns three-quarters of its revenues in South Africa but is expanding at breakneck pace in China, Russia and other emerging markets. Tradus will complement its geographic reach, with a market-leading business in Poland. The lack, though, of operational overlap means no synergies are expected. And there must be suspicion that Naspers is overly keen to spend its $1.5Billion cash pile, two-thirds of which is offshore and must be spent before the year end or repatriated.

Admittedly, others share its optimism over Tradus’ prospects. Citi, even in these difficult days, is providing £700M of bridging finance. But Naspers’ shareholders seem warier this time around. The shares fell slightly after the deal was announced, suggesting a fear that the days of overpaying for internet companies with uncertain future revenues are not necessarily over.

In September 2007 QXL Ricardo (Tradus) has bought a 30 percent stake in Molotok.ru, an online auction site in Russia, for a relatively small sum of $1.5 million. The remaining 70 percent of the site is be owned by Russian portal Mail.ru

The company was known to be in deal talks, and there had been speculation that eBay and Alibaba.com were both interested in acquiring the Eastern Europe-focused site.

More about Tradus

Tradus provides online consumer trading platforms and related internet services in eleven European countries. These platforms connect buyers and sellers 24 hours a day, seven days a week in a safe, efficient, and entertaining environment. A wide selection of merchandise and services is available on our sites, ranging from consumer electronics and collectibles to clothing, lifestyle products, cars, car parts and real estate.

Tradus plc, formerly QXL Ricardo PLC, was established in September 1997 and its shares have been quoted on the London Stock Exchange since October 1999. Although the corporate headquarters are in London, most of the operations are located in our key countries across Europe, with the majority of staff being based in Poznan, Poland where our largest business is based. At the end of March 2007 there were over 400 employees in the Group, most of whom are dedicated customer service staff ensuring that the needs of our growing member base are met.

About Naspers

Naspers is a multinational media company with principal operations in electronic media (including pay-television, internet and instant-messaging subscriber platforms and the provision of related technologies) and print media (including the publishing, distribution and printing of magazines, newspapers and books, and the provision of private education services). Naspers’ most significant operations are located in South Africa, where it generates approximately 76.4% of its revenues, with other operations located elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa, Greece, Cyprus, the Netherlands, the United States, Thailand and China. Naspers creates media content, builds brand names around it, and manages the platforms distributing the content. Naspers delivers its content in a variety of forms and through a variety of channels, including television platforms, internet services, newspapers, magazines and books. Many of Naspers’ businesses hold leading market positions, and Naspers capitalises on these strong positions when expanding into new markets.

As a side note early this year Naspers announced voluntary delisting from NASDAQ and instead Naspers Limited Received Listing Approval for London Stock Exchange. Naspers is listed on the stock exchange in Johannesburg and up to date stock quote can be found over here: http://stocks.us.reuters.com/stocks/overview.asp?symbol=NPNJn.J

With the current acquisition Naspers is hoping to expand its instant messaging services beyond what it already owns in the sector. Naspers operates local IM/online services in Russia (Mail.ru), China (Tencent) and Thailand (M-Web/Sanook).

The company is headquartered in Cape Town, RSA. 

More

http://www.qxl.com/
http://www.qxl.com/investor_centre
http://www.naspers.com/English/home.asp
http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article3263632.ece
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/1/da97695c-ad4b-11dc-9386-0000779fd2ac.html
http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-tradus-auction-site-agrees-2-billion-takeover-by-south-africas-naspers/
http://mashable.com/2007/12/18/naspers-acquires-tradus/
http://www.paidcontent.co.uk/entry/419-online-auctioneer-qxl-ricardo-to-sell-to-naspers-for-up-to-800-report/
http://www.paidcontent.co.uk/entry/eurpean-company-qxl-ricardo-takes-30-percent-stake-in-russian-auction-site
http://web2innovations.com/money/2007/12/23/naspers-acquired-polish-based-im-company-gadu-gadu-chit-chat/
http://www.telecom.paper.nl/site/news_ta.asp?type=abstract&id=196998&nr=
http://www.tradus.com/news-item?item=56416543336883
 http://biz.yahoo.com/ic/56/56312.html

SAP Germany makes its biggest deal ever – acquires Business Objects for 4.8B EURO

SAP, the world’s largest maker of business software, has agreed to acquire Business Objects SA for €4.8 billion euros, which was around ~$6.8 billion at the time the acquisition deal was announced. The deal is amongst the largest for 2007 alongside with Oracle’s Hyperion deal for over $3.3B and the Nokia’s Navteq for over $8B.

Business Objects is the world’s leading BI (Business Intelligence) software company. Their software helps organizations gain better insight into their business, improving decision-making and enterprise performance. Business Objects has more than 43,000 customers – including over 80 percent of the Fortune 500 – and a network of more than 3,000 partners and resellers.

The acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008, is SAP’s largest acquisition so far. The deal is especially newsworthy for SAP, which has always tended to favor developing its own technology rather than acquiring it.

The acquisition of Business Objects is designed to dovetail into SAP’s previously announced plans to double its addressable market by 2010, said Henning Kagermann, SAP chief executive, during a press conference earlier this year.

Under the terms of the agreement, SAP will pay 42 euros ($59.35) per share in cash.

John Schwarz would continue as the CEO of Business Objects and is expected to become a member of SAP’s executive board, while Doug Merritt, corporate officer for SAP’s Business User segment, would join the Business Objects entity and report to Schwarz, the companies said.

SAP said it expects the transaction to add to the company’s earnings per share by 2009.

Business intelligence software taps into an organization’s disparate data “to provide meaningful information and analysis to employees, customers, suppliers, and partners for more effective decision making.”

Although both companies are sort of Web 1.0 (closed, proprietary, no Web 2.0 environment, no services and collaboration on-line available, etc.) SAP and Business Objects have started providing online services that represent an extension of their core products. For instance SAP has focused on online business collaboration, and has developed web based widgets that interact with SAP productivity tools.

On the other hand Business Objects offers a number of online applications under the “BI 2.0″ banner on its Business Objects Labs Web site. Tools include BI Annotator, a tool that combines external data feeds with the structured data in a data warehouse, and BI Desktop, for creating programs or widgets that display current BI information on the desktop.

Earlier this year SAP announced the acquisition of two other smaller companies an enterprise communications software developer and a buyout of an identity management applications maker.

The Wicom Communications acquisition is designed to bolster SAP’s customer relationship management (CRM) software, while the pending MaXware acquisition is expected to increase SAP’s identity management capabilities in NetWeaver.

Both acquisitions mirror the enterprise software giant’s past practice of acquiring small, niche companies to fill out its product portfolio, rather than large multibillion-dollar deals.

What forced SAP to switch from buying mostly small niche-specific companies and products to large-scale deals such as the deal for Business Objects SA today?

Perhaps the fact that roughly 40 percent of Business Objects’ customers use SAP might be a natural synergy for both companies. Between them, SAP and Business Objects offer three financial consolidation products. The other 60 percent of Business Objects’ business, which deals with business-intelligence tools, is where SAP will find value, said Paul Hamerman, an enterprise applications analyst with Forrester Research.

Business Objects acquisition might also be the SAP’s respond to the rival Oracle which has, not too long ago, acquired business intelligence tool developer Hyperion Solutions in a $3.3 billion deal.

Just last April, SAP apparently wasn’t convinced it needed to buy itself into the business intelligence market. Hamerman said he spoke with Kagermann at Sapphire, SAP’s annual user conference, where the SAP CEO said he couldn’t expect to make a big push into the market with an acquisition and still get a return on investment by 2010. What a sharp turn.

Meanwhile, AMR Research notes that spending on business-intelligence and performance management products is expected to reach $23.8 billion by the end of the year, up 3.6 percent from the previous year.

Shares of Business Objects soared 16 percent in the trading after the deal was announced to $58.36 a share. By contrast SAP shares dropped 5.2 percent to $56.14 a share.

About SAP

Founded in 1972 as Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing, SAP is the recognized leader in providing collaborative business solutions for all types of industries and for every major market. From Walldorf to Wall Street: The SAP Success Story

Serving more than 43,400 customers worldwide, SAP is the world’s largest business software company and the world’s third-largest independent software provider overall. We have a rich history of innovation and growth that has made us a true industry leader. Today, SAP employs more than 42,750 people in more than 50 countries. Our professionals are dedicated to providing the highest level of customer service and support.

Knowledge, Experience, and Technology for Optimizing Business

SAP has leveraged our extensive experience to deliver a comprehensive range of solutions to empower every aspect of business operations. By using SAP solutions, organizations of all sizes – including small businesses and midsize companies – can reduce costs, improve performance, and gain the agility to respond to changing business needs.

SAP has also developed the SAP NetWeaver platform, which allows our customers to achieve more value from their IT investments.

To ensure SAP’s position as a technology leader, SAP Ventures invests in emerging entrepreneurial companies that are advancing exciting new technologies. And through SAP Research, we introduce new ideas for future solutions.

At SAP, quality awareness and best practices are at the heart of everything we do. SAP’s commitment to quality is manifested through annual quality awards.

Headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, SAP is listed on several exchanges, including the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange, under the symbol “SAP.”

SAP’s stock has consistently achieved one of the highest returns of German securities. Investors who bought SAP ordinary shares at the end of 1996 and reinvested their dividends (excluding tax credits) and the proceeds from rights issues into SAP ordinary shares would have received, at the end of 2006, an average annual return of 16.9%. A REX portfolio of fixed-interest German government bonds yielded 5.1% per year during the same period. The comparable yield on an investment tied to the DAX index of Frankfurt securities was 8.6% per year. The average return on SAP ordinary shares over the past five years has been 2.6% per year (5% in 2005, -3.8% in 2004, and 2.1% in 2003).

Stock Details

  • Initial public offering:  November 4, 1988
  • Issue price:  750.00 DM (ordinary shares); €0.50 in today’s currency
  • Stock category:  Ordinary share (no-par-value share)
  • Shares outstanding:  1,267 million
  • Free float:  About 69.8% (approximately 884 million shares)
  • Market cap (Dec. 31, 2005):   €51 billion
  • Dividend for fiscal year 2006:  €0.46
  • Closing price (Dec. 31, 2006):  €40.26

Ticker Symbols

  • Deutsche Boerse  SAP
  • New York Stock Exchange (ADR)  SAP
  • Bloomberg  SAP GR
  • Reuters  SAP_p.F or DE
  • Quotron  SAGR.EU

Indices

In recognition of its ethical performance, SAP has again qualified for inclusion in major ethical investment indexes, FTSE4Good and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes.

More about Business Objects S.A.

The company was established in Aug. 3, 1990 in Paris. Business Objects was founded on the vision of two young software entrepreneurs. The company is today headquartered in both locations San Jose, California and Paris, France. The company’s CEO is John Schwarz. 2006 revenues were $1.254 billion while the 2007 Q1 revenue was $334 million. The company has more than 5,428 (as of Q1 2007) Employees.

Bernard Liautaud is chairman and chief strategy officer of Business Objects. As chief strategy officer, Liautaud focuses on advising CEO John Schwarz and the executive committee on business strategy.

Liautaud co-founded Business Objects in 1990 and was chief executive officer until September 2005. He took the company public on NASDAQ in September 1994, making it the first French software company listed in the United States. Since that time, Liautaud lead Business Objects through 12 successful years of growth and profitability, making the company one of the 25 largest software companies in the world and the clear leader in the business intelligence market. Liautaud’s key accomplishments include:

Time Magazine Europe’s Digital Top 25 of 2002
BusinessWeek Europe Stars of Europe of 2002
 
One of the Top 10 CEOs in North America by Chief Executive Magazine in 2001

Author of the popular business book, e-Business Intelligence: Turning Information into Knowledge into Profit. The book was translated into nine languages and sold more than 50,000 copies worldwide

Prior to Business Objects, Liautaud served as marketing manager for Oracle in France. Previously he was the deputy scientific attaché for the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. Liautaud has a master’s degree in engineering from École Centrale (France) and a master’s degree in engineering management from Stanford University. In 2007, Bernard was awarded the title of “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur” by the French government.

More

http://www.sap.com/
http://www.businessobjects.com/
http://www.businessobjects.com/news/press_release.asp?id=20071007_005046
http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/07/sap-acquires-business-objects-for-e48-billion/
http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000000121,39285595,00.htm
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071007/bs_afp/francegermanycomputertakeoversap (story has expired)
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1866923,00.asp
http://www.businessobjects.com/company/management/liautaud.asp
http://www.businessweek.com/ap_working/financialnews/D8S4K2580.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_top+story
http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9792531-7.html
http://www.news.com/SAP-acquiring-two-European-software-makers/2100-1012_3-6183545.html
http://www.news.com/Oracle-buys-Hyperion-for-3.3-billion/2100-1012_3-6163325.html
http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=4908
http://www.informationweek.com/management/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=202300623
http://www.sap.com/about/press/press.epx?pressid=8360
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/08/business/worldbusiness/08sap.html?ref=business
 

Microsoft acquires discount shopping search Jellyfish

A couple of months ago Microsoft did an interesting move. They acquired Jellyfish.com – the Internet’s first buying [search] engine, as they call themselves.  Simply put: online discount shopping website that shares their fees earned from the merchants when you buy from them through cash back program.

Typical for how the major companies buy the price of the acquisition was not disclosed nor were more business details given. Under the terms of the deal, Jellyfish.com will maintain its standalone identity and its 26 employees will remain in Wisconsin.

Jellyfish.com had raised about $6 million in funding from investors that included company executives and Kegonsa Capital Partners, based in Fitchburg, Wisconsin and Clyde Street in October 2006.

Jellyfish.com was co-founded by Chief Executive Brian Wiegand and President Mark McGuire, who previously collaborated on NameProtect, a vertical search engine that provides trademark research. Venture-backed NameProtect was acquired by Corporation Services Company in April 2007.

What is Jellyfish.com anyway?

Jellyfish is a new kind of search engine. They call it the Internet’s first buying engine. Search engines are great for finding information, but they think you also need a search engine that is perfect for when you want to buy something online.

They try to make it simple for you to find the right product from a trusted merchant. But they also do something really different too: sharing their revenue with you. The guys there think of themselves as a Robin-Hood-like search engine that takes a percentage of the revenue you generate through your buying activity and redistributes it to you.
You use Jellyfish.com just like you would any other shopping search engine to find the right product at the best price. But when you actually buy something from a store in our engine, we share at least half of what we earn by connecting you to that store. All you need to do is sign up for an account to earn cash back. There are no fees or hidden charges.

This is the Jellyfish.com’s cash back promise: to share at least half of every $1 they earn when you shop and buy products using Jellyfish.com, as of course not all merchants within their data base are allowing them to share with shoppers, but this is clearly indicated.
At Jellyfish you will never get hidden fees, secret agendas, or annoying advertising. You will get an easy to use, transparent service that puts you in control.

Like eBay in Reverse

In reality, Jellyfish.com is one big marketplace of stores competing for your attention. But instead of annoying you with advertising, we allow stores to use their advertising dollars to lower your end price. If you like pretty pictures, you can see a picture of how this works here. And no we aren’t eBay, but we think our patent-pending marketplace is like eBay in reverse. Instead of bidding for deals, all you have to do is search to uncover the stores that have already bid the most to create the best deal for you.

How can they do this? Or better yet, why they are giving away $?

They just think that advertising stinks. Instead of wasting lots of money interrupting and annoying you, they have invented a new marketplace where stores make their advertising $’s work directly for your benefit and on your terms. Current advertising gives too much value to search engines at the expense of you and the stores that pay to advertise. Instead of the search engine keeping all of the advertising, we set up a system that rewards us, you, and the advertiser fairly when you find the right product to buy online.

What they really hope to do is show you the value of your attention online. And they couldn’t think of a better way than paying you cold hard cash. Technology has given you incredible control of what you pay attention to. You may not know it yet, but you are now in control. Companies in this new world will have to provide you with a maximum return on the value of your attention or they will die. And the value of your attention at Jellyfish is measured in extra dollars in your cash back account.

At Jellyfish, they want to pioneer a new form of search advertising that they call Value Per Action. Instead of charging fees when you click, they charge their advertisers only when you actually buy, and they share at least half of this fee back to you as cash back. In other words, they connect you directly to the value of the advertising. Instead of measuring how much money they make when you click, they measure how much value the advertiser is willing to pay YOU for your sale. With VPA, the advertising value of your attention becomes transparent (you can see it in the form of cash back) and changes from annoying advertising into something that actually lowers your end price.

Jellyfish.com’s platform is a sort of reverse auction where buyers bid on reducing prices, betting on when to place an order without knowing quantity at the given price.

This type of auction is a dutch auction, first used to sell Dutch tulips.

The Microsoft Live Search team said  they “think the technology has some interesting potential applications as we continue to invest heavily in shopping and commerce as a key component of Live Search.”

Another potential reason could be Google, again.

Google understands the game of pay per click is about to change and is moving. Microsoft pays attention to is and they’re locking up intellectual property in this move -one that combines multiple, successful and innovative digital shopping models.

Jellyfish takes a best of breed approach and “mashes them up” to the amusement of consumers: Ebates + Woot.com and on the advertiser-side, eBay’s Shopping.com + Google’s AdWords auction environment + Commission Junction’s (VCLK) performance-based cost model (cost-per-action) with a twist of Google (auctioning off ads).

It all ads up to valuable IP that Google, in theory, cannot access.

According to Jellyfish’s zeitgeist, pay per click advertising “fails to align incentives properly between the consumer, the advertiser, and the search engine intermediary connecting them.” It’s certainly an interesting take on sponsored links, but it will most likely be a complicated stance to maintain after being acquired by one of the larger players in the pay per click game.

Similar, and older, companies include Shopping (eBay), Bizrate.com, Epinions and Overstock.com.

Via

[ http://www.jellyfish.com/about ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/02/microsoft-acquires-discount-shopping-site-jellyfishcom/ ]
[ http://www.jeffmolander.com/ ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/10/27/cpa-shopping-search-jellyfishcom-closes-5-million-round/ ]
[ http://www.jellyfish.com/blog ]
[ http://www.jellyfish.com/howToUseJellyfish ]
[ http://www.jellyfish.com/blog/2007/10/02/microsoft-acquires-jellyfish/ ]
[ http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/10/microsoft-acqui.html ]
[ http://www.jellyfish.com/ourVision ]
[ http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2007/10/microsoft-acquires-jellyfish-apparently-shuns-peanutbutterfish.html ]
[ http://blogs.msdn.com/livesearch/archive/2007/10/01/microsoft-acquires-jellyfish-com.aspx ]
[ http://www.redherring.com/Home/22913 ]
[ http://www.jellyfish.com/founders ]

Adobe Systems Acquires Buzzword, a web-based word processing software

Adobe Systems has acquired Virtual Ubiquity, the parent company of the Buzzword web-based word processing software.

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Virtual Ubiquity and its ground-breaking online word processor, Buzzword. The acquisition furthers Adobe’s commitment to foster a vibrant ecosystem for rich Internet application (RIA) development that delivers breakthrough experiences built on Adobe AIR. Separately, Adobe added a new file sharing service to its current online document services. Codenamed “Share,” the beta service will make it easier than ever for people to share, publish and organize documents online.

Virtual Ubiquity is based in Waltham, Massachusetts. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of November 2007. The addition of Virtual Ubiquity is not expected to have a material impact to Adobe revenue and earnings in fiscal year 2007.

Virtual Ubiquity had taken funding from Adobe’s venture capital group. At this point there is no disclosure on the size of the buy-out.

One may ask why? Well, Buzzword is built using Adobe Flex and runs in the Adobe Flash Player, making it a logical fit for the software company. Additionally, users can use Buzzword both online and offline using Adobe AIR. Much like Google Docs and Zoho, Buzzword also includes features for collaboration and sharing documents.

Buzzword, an elegant online word processor, enables individuals to work together to create high quality, page perfect documents. Because it was built with Adobe Flex™ software and runs in the Adobe Flash™ Player, Buzzword enables greater document quality, outstanding typography, page layout controls, and robust support for integrated graphics, regardless of the browser or device. The application also will run on Adobe® AIR™, offering users a hybrid online/offline experience and the ability to work with both hosted and local documents. The powerful collaboration capabilities in Buzzword enable multiple authors to edit and comment on documents from anywhere, at anytime, while document creators can set permissions that virtually eliminate version control chaos. For more information on the acquisition and access to Buzzword beta software, please visit http://www.adobe.com/go/buzzwordfaq.

Buzzword is a stunning achievement in design. Of all the PC-compatible word processors available — including the desktop dinosaur Microsoft Word — Buzzword is the easiest on the eyes and has the most elegant user interface.

The founders of the company will be joining Adobe as part of the deal.

So, is this an employment through acquisition? It could also be a well planned, funded and executed internal deal in the domain of the PR for Adobe in order to promote, proclaim and popularize its new products as Adobe Flex software, Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR, all trademarks owned by Adobe Systems Incorporated.

The deal comes in moment when the company announced the launch of the new Adobe Flash Player.

Via

[ http://www.buzzword.com/ ]
[ http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/pressroom…/100107VirtualUbiquity.html ]
[ http://mashable.com/2007/10/01/adobe-buzzword/ ]
[ http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/ ]
[ http://www.adobe.com/go/buzzwordfaq ]
[ http://about.buzzword.com/ ]
[ http://reviews.zdnet.co.uk/software/productivity/0,1000001108,39289750,00.htm ]
[ http://www.thealarmclock.com/mt/archives/2007/10/adobe_buys_web.html ]

Interesting web buy for Dun & Bradstreet Corp

Today Dun & Bradstreet Corp., a major business information company, said it has bought AllBusiness.com for $55 million in all cash deal.

Based on this the company subsequently raised its 2008 revenue outlook to account for the acquisition.

Dun & Bradstreet bought the online media and e-commerce company in an effort to expand its Internet business and presence. The purchase will have no effect on the company’s 2007 financial guidance, but AllBusiness is expected to generate about $10 million of incremental revenue in 2008. Dun & Bradstreet expects the acquisition to add to earnings in 2009.

Dun & Bradstreet raised its guidance for core revenue growth in 2008 to between 8 percent and 10 percent, before the effect of foreign exchange, from previous guidance of 7 percent to 9 percent growth.

The company also reaffirmed earnings-per-share growth, before non-core gains and charges, of 11 percent to 14 percent in 2008.

Shares rose 15 cents to close at $90.03, and continued to gain in aftermarket trading, jumping $2.37, or 2.6 percent, to $92.40.

AllBusiness.com is an online media and e-commerce company that operates one of the premier business sites on the Web. The site has received critical acclaim and notoriety from The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business 2.0, Fortune, The New York Times, US News & World Report, USA Today, and other publications. AllBusiness.com helps business professionals save time and money by addressing real-world business questions and presenting practical solutions. The site offers resources including how-to articles, business forms, contracts and agreements, expert advice, blogs, business news, business directory listings, product comparisons, business guides, a business association and more.

Business professionals can access AllBusiness.com’s content and services through a number of channels, including the AllBusiness.com Web site; RSS feeds and email newsletters; and through its partnerships with leading Web properties.

Their content, products and services are featured on a number of sites, including: BusinessWeek, CBSNews, NYTimes, SFGate.com, Washington Post, and Yahoo!. AllBusiness content also appears in the print edition of the San Francisco Chronicle as part of their business advisor program.

AllBusiness is based in San Francisco, California and backed by VantagePoint Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures and Reed Elsevier Ventures. Kathy Yates is the CEO of AllBusiness.com

AllBusiness is said to generate high-quality traffic (perhaps business heavy) by publishing rich content on the Web and leverages its expertise in search engine optimization to generate higher listings of its content on each search inquiry. The company is reaching more than 2 million unique monthly visitors, and it monetizes its traffic through online display advertising by national advertisers. The AllBusiness acquisition also provides a platform to generate cross-selling opportunities for D&B products aimed at small business professionals, which is the key online market that D&B serves today.

2 million uniques per month web site sells for $55M is not a bad deal after all if we offset the fact it was earlier bought for $225M in 2000. The acquisition deal is probably also including the brand name and web site maturity (launched in 1999) as well as the library of content rich articles and business information.

If anything its evidence that there’s not a web 2.0 bubble, valuations now are much more sensible then during Web 1.0 (Buying in 2000 for $225M  and selling in 2007 for $55M).

D&B (listed on NYSE:DNB) is the world’s leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses, enabling companies to Decide with Confidence  for over 165 years. D&B’s global commercial database contains more than 115 million business records. The database is enhanced by D&B’s proprietary DUNSRight’s Quality Process, which provides the customers with quality business information. This quality information is the foundation of D&B’s global solutions that customers rely on to make critical business decisions.

In s similar deal, a couple of months ago, business.com was bought by R.H. Donnelley for $345M off its slightly over 5M unique visitors per month and about $15 Million dollars a year in revenue. The Dow Jones and the New York Times were both bidding on the company.

Via

[ http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles…d91f9bdb06b003.htm ]
[ http://www.allbusiness.com/technology/software-services-applications-search-engines/4974054-2.html ]
[ http://www.allbusiness.com/company-activities-management/company-structures-ownership/4974051-1.html ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/04/the-ghosts-of-web-10-are-being-acquired-allbusinesscom-sells-for-55-million/ ]
[ http://www.allbusiness.com/2984615-1.html ]
[ http://www.dnb.com/ ]

Microsoft Acquires WebFives, yet another multimedia sharing site

Microsoft has acquired yet another photo/video and audio sharing site called WebFives.

The agreement has been reached during November 2007 and according it Microsoft has acquired all rights to WebFives technology, patents pending, trademarks, and software to incorporate into its products and services over time. In order to make WebFives’s wind down process as easy as possible for their users, Microsoft has agreed to provide them with a license to continue operating WebFives until the end of the year, giving their users time to copy any information you would like to keep to your own PCs or another service prior to the end of the year.

WebFives has initially been founded by a former Microsoft engineer Mike Toutonghi as Vizrea, which later became WebFives. Vizrea launched in 2006 and is based in Seattle and had a handful number of employees in both locations Seattle and Prague (Czechs Republic). Originally they idea is known to have started in August of 2003 with a vision of making video, photo, music sharing, and blogging easy and accessible to everyone from any device. The company launched with the support from some early Microsoft executives. Mike Toutonghi was the engineer who initiated the Media Center version of Windows at Microsoft before leaving for the startup world.

The company realized that building a great sharing and social network means serving the community at first place. They are making it possible for anyone who creates videos, pictures, or music to easily share their creations in stunning quality to the entire world or just a small group of friends. WebFives includes advertising so they can offer you a great, free level of service for creating and sharing videos, pictures, blogs, and audio on your own personal WebFives website. Users are provided with standard social networking profile pages complete with blogging, and have the option of accessing their sites via computer or via a WAP specific page.

Some of the site’s fundaments:

1 WebFives is Quality
The video you watch and share on the web doesn’t have to be fuzzy and low quality any more. WebFives can deliver full-screen, digital-TV quality video, and CD quality audio. It’s high quality on mobile phones too.

2 WebFives is Everywhere
Easily share what you create. You and your friends can use the web browser on almost any phone to upload to WebFives, and watch WebFives video or listen to WebFives music. You can also use multimedia messages (MMS) to send movies and photos directly from your phone to WebFives. (Your web address is: webfives.com/username, your mobile address is: wap.webfives.com/username. It really is as simple as that.) Plus, for some phones we have additional, optional software.

 3 WebFives is Friendly
Already using another service? No problem, WebFives likes them all. Easily put your high quality WebFives media on other sites like MySpace, Xanga—or even on all of them at the same time. Send a video from your phone to WebFives and it’ll update for all of your friends right away.

4 WebFives is the Whole Enchilada
It’s got everything you’d expect from a sharing service—video, music, blogs, comments, ratings, tags, ‘friends,’ fast and easy search, and more—on both PCs and mobile phones.

5 WebFives is You
It’s designed from the ground up with you in mind, so it’s easy and fun to use. You can whip out great looking, custom web pages in minutes, and decide who can see them. (People who can’t see them don’t know they exist.)

Other prominent acquisitions within the sector are Photobucket by MySpace (News Corp/Fox Interactive), Flickr by Yahoo and Picasa by Google some years ago. In just recent weeks American greetings has acquired Webshots Inc, one of the leaders of Photo sharing sites. 

The deal terms and the acquisition price were not disclosed and typically for big buys (Microsoft, Google, etc.) the site stopped working and current users are given with 30 days to have their content downloaded and moved away from the site.

Via

[ http://mashable.com/2007/12/01/microsoft-acquires-photo-sharing-site-webfives/ ]
[ http://www.webfives.com/whatis.aspx ]
[ http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/258559_vizrea07.html ]
[ http://blogs.zdnet.com/mobile-gadgeteer/?p=723 ]
[ http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/brierdudley/2007/11/microsoft_buys_toutonghis_seat_1.html ]
[ http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/30/microsoft-acquires-mobile-focused-social-networking-site-webfives/ ]
 

Intuit Acquires Homestead for $170m

Small business website creation service Homestead, started out in the web 1.0 era, announced tonight that it has been acquired by Intuit for $170m. In addition to Intuit’s personal and small business accounting software, and the company’s partnership with Google to integrate services like Maps listing and AdSense buys, Intuit customers will now presumably be able to put up websites quickly and easily with Homestead. This transaction will enable Intuit to offer Web site creation and e-commerce.

The cash transaction is valued at approximately $170 million, including the assumption of Homestead’s outstanding options and restricted stock units.

The transaction is expected to close during the first calendar quarter of 2008 and is subject to regulatory review and other customary closing conditions. Intuit expects the acquisition to be slightly dilutive in fiscal 2008 and 2009.

This acquisition supports our growth strategy in small business by addressing an underserved need, and continues Intuits move beyond financial management solutions into helping small businesses solve other important problems, said Brad Smith, senior vice president of Intuits small business group. Homestead helps us solve one of small businesses highest priorities attracting customers by helping them succeed on the Web.

The backstory is a bit more interesting as per what the Homestead’s CEO says below:

Ever since I started Homestead in 1997, I have kept two lists.  The first list is all the acquisition offers we have received over the years (it’s nineteen long, not counting this one).  The second list is a “wish list” that contains companies I would actually consider selling our “baby” to; companies that have resonated with me and the Homestead philosophy of doing business over the span of my career (this list has four members).  Intuit is on the first list twice and, as you might guess, a member of the illustrious second list. You can read the full story on the Homestead’s blog over here

Intuit is the company behind QuickBooks, Quicken and TurboTax software.

[ via BW ]

[ via Homestead Blog ]

[ via Bizjournals ]

[ via Mashable ]

[ via Tradingmarkets ]

Google acquires wiki project JotSpot, one year later

CNN reported (story has expired) in 2006 on a tiny deal where Google has acquired a small wiki based start-up company called JotSpot. Google says they are expanding their efforts at providing software that helps users create and post their own materials on the Internet. JotSpot is (was) a California startup that develops online collaboration tools known as wikis. Wikipedia is the most prominent example of what wiki software does.

JotSpot was a software start-up that offered enterprise social software – a structured wiki. The product was targeted mainly to small- and medium-sized businesses. The company was founded by Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer, co-founders of Excite. JotSpot is now owned by Google. 

The compamy closed Series A round of funding in the $5M range. Participants were Redpoint Ventures, Mayfield Funds, some private investors and the founders Joe Kraus and Graham Spencer.  

The announcement came Tuesday Nov 03, 2006 through separate postings at Google’s and JotSpot Inc.’s Web journals. Pricing details were not disclosed.

JotSpot Chief Executive Joe Kraus said JotSpot would be able to tap into the Internet search leader’s large user base and robust data centers capable of handling any growth. “Our vision has always been to take wikis out of the land of the nerds and bring it to the largest possible audience,” Kraus said in an interview.

Earlier in the year, Google said it bought Upstartle, the maker of the online word-processing program Writely. Google has since packaged Writely with an online spreadsheet it developed in-house.

The free tools could help groups simultaneously work on documents over the Web and provide alternatives to Microsoft Corp.’s dominant business-software applications, which largely run on computer desktops rather than the Internet.

Kraus said Google’s acquisition of JotSpot “validates the notion that people want to do more online than just read. The Web is moving from a monologue to a dialogue.”

JotSpot since then has stopped billing for paid accounts. By that time JotSpot was said to have more than 30,000 paid accounts.

JotSpot had 27 employees later moved about six miles from Palo Alto, California, to Google’s Mountain View headquarters.

An year later JotSpot seems to have been integrated within what’s called now Google Docs which is free web-based word processor and spreadsheet, which allow you share and collaborate online. In an another news Google announced that Jotspot would be integrated into Google Apps and part of the suite of online office applications Google is developing or acquiring.

Please note this posting is reporting a deal for JotSpot that took place in 2006. Web 2.0 Money is a new initiative of Web 2.0 Innovations to discover, report and analyze the money behind the Technology and Internet Industries. We start from some of the earliest funding/acquisition deals we know about.

[ via CNN ]

[ via Zee News ]

[ via The Geek Librarian ]

[ via Demo ]