Wed, Jul. 13, 6:43 PM
- Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT) closed today up 3.5% after touching a 52-week high on news that it's looking into strategic alternatives -- which could include a buyer from outside telecom.
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is speculated to be a possibility among suitors, but so is Google (GOOG, GOOGL), with whom Level 3 signed an interconnection agreement earlier this year.
- Citigroup analysts Michael Rollins and Neth Wiedemann can't confirm the reports, but they love the stock ("top pick within our coverage group given its growth, financial flexibility, valuation, and strategic optionality") and float another candidate: rival Zayo Group (NYSE:ZAYO).
- Zayo could itself be an attractive target for a cableco, but "We also would not dismiss the possibility that Level 3 and Zayo could consider a merger scenario to become a larger competitor for the enterprise market against the incumbents AT&T and Verizon Communications."
Thu, Jul. 7, 5:12 PM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) has acquired video-processing company Anvato, a supplier firm to over-the-top video providers.
- The tech giant will integrate Anvato's team and technology into its Google Cloud Platform group.
- Anvato, founded in 2007, delivers services around Internet video (encoding, editing, publishing and distribution) for customers that include a number of TV content/station owners (NBCUniversal, Fox Sports, Scripps Networks, Media General, Univision), and it helped deliver the live stream of Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.
Sun, Apr. 17, 8:56 PM
- With tomorrow's deadline arriving for bidders for core assets of Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), the long-shot bid of Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) won't be among them, as the company decided fixing the business was too big a task, The Wall Street Journal reports. (It would have also faced severe leveraging trying to swallow the business.)
- With a number of bidders bowing out as expected, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is indeed a front-runner among the few firms moving forward. Aligning somewhat with a number of other media reports (and rumors), now bowing out for sure are Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), AT&T (NYSE:T) and IAC/InteractiveCorp (NASDAQ:IAC), the Journal says.
- It appears Verizon's biggest competition may come from private equity (Bain Capital, TPG, Advent International), reinforcing the strength of Verizon's bid. It was unclear whether KKR would stay in the bidding, and the Daily Mail (OTCPK:DMTGY) may still be in, but with P-E help.
- Now read Why Verizon Is The Clear Front-Runner To Buy Yahoo »
Thu, Apr. 7, 2:58 PM
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) shares have jumped into positive ground, now up 1.2%, on news that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is proceeding with a bid for its core assets.
- Shares were down as much as 2.6% today.
- Alphabet unit Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is also weighing its own bid, Bloomberg reports, with interest also showing up from Bain Capital and TPG. Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) is still out there as well.
- AT&T (NYSE:T) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) are losing interest, Bloomberg also said, with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) also deciding it wouldn't bid.
- Verizon might also put in for Yahoo's Japan interests, the report said.
- Updated 3:06 p.m.: After a big spike into positive ground, Yahoo shares have gone negative again, -0.1%. Verizon is said to value the core business at less than $8B, vs. Yahoo's hopes for a $10B valuation, and has engaged three banks.
- Now read Yahoo Should Be At Least $48 A Share »
Fri, Mar. 18, 1:21 PM
- Alphabet/Google (GOOG -0.5%, GOOGL -0.6%) "has assembled an early working list of possible acquisition targets in enterprise that include a number of startups," sources tell Re/code. The site cautions talks have been preliminary thus far.
- E-commerce software/services firm Shopify (SHOP +3.1%), which has a $2.2B market cap and claimed over 243K merchant clients as of Q4, is reportedly on Google's list of potential targets. Xactly (XTLY +3.6%), a provider of cloud-based employee compensation software that sports a $187M market cap. Other names include Callidus (CALD +5.1%), a provider of enterprise sales/marketing software with an $843M market cap, Metavine, a provider of cloud services that help companies develop business apps, and Namely, a cloud HR software firm. Shopify and Xactly are trading higher.
- Re/code notes the list is filled with companies that have strong exposure to mid-sized businesses. Google reportedly wants to buy cloud software/services firms serving the mid-market in order to strengthen Google Apps and migrate the acquired companies' platforms to the Google Cloud Platform (cloud infrastructure and app hosting).
- Google's efforts are said to underscore "the broad edict and influence" new cloud chief Diane Greene has within the company, as the Web giant attempts to gain ground in cloud infrastructure against Amazon and Microsoft. CRN reported on Wednesday Apple (an Amazon and Microsoft cloud client) has signed up for the Google Cloud Platform.
Thu, Mar. 17, 1:17 PM
- Having concluded the business "isn’t likely to produce a marketable product in the next few years," Alphabet/Google (GOOG +0.7%, GOOGL +0.7%) plans to sell its Boston Dynamics robot unit, Bloomberg reports. Toyota and Amazon are viewed as potential buyers.
- Google acquired Boston Dynamics in 2013 as part of a broader push to commercialize advanced robots that could be deployed in the home, in factories, and elsewhere. Boston has partnered with various military agencies, and YouTube videos of its robots moving at high speeds, displaying humanoid traits, and/or staying on their feet while navigating rugged terrain have been quite popular.
- Bloomberg states Google's decision follows tensions between Boston and others taking part of Google's robot initiative, known as Replicant. Boston execs were reportedly reluctant to work with Google robot engineers in California and Tokyo, and the unit was unable to come up with a product that could be released in the short-term.
- Three months ago, Google folded Replicant into its Google X long-term R&D unit, but didn't include Boston in the restructuring. The move occurred a little over a year after robotics chief (and former Android chief) Andy Rubin left the company.
Nov. 19, 2015, 5:21 PM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) has bought Bebop Technologies, a stealth-mode startup that has been working on an enterprise cloud app development platform, and which was founded by VMware co-founder and Google board member Diane Greene.
- Greene will now lead a new unit containing all of Google's cloud businesses, including Google Apps (productivity apps), Google for Work (custom versions of Google products for enterprises), and the Google Cloud Platform (cloud infrastructure and app platform services). CEO Sundar Pichai declares the move will "bring together product, engineering, marketing and sales and allow us to operate in a much more integrated, coordinated fashion."
- Pichai provides some vague details regarding Bebop: "[B]ebop is a new development platform that makes it easy to build and maintain enterprise applications ... bebop and its stellar team will help us provide integrated cloud products at every level: end-user platforms like Android and Chromebooks, infrastructure and services in Google Cloud Platform, developer frameworks for mobile and enterprise users, and end-user applications like Gmail and Docs."
- The move comes shortly after Google SVP Urs Hölze proclaimed (in remarks that may or may not have been blessed by Google's brass) the company's Cloud Platform revenue could surpass its ad revenue in five years. With 90% of Google's Q3 revenue coming from ads (and much of the rest from hardware, Google Play, etc.), that could prove a tall order.
- Rackspace (NYSE:RAX) fell 6.1% in regular trading, with Hölze's remarks having been mentioned as a potential culprit. Stifel defended Rackspace, arguing the remarks were misunderstood and that Rackspace will eventually strike a deal to provide managed services for Google's cloud offerings, much as it has with Amazon and Microsoft.
- Synergy Research estimates Google is the 4th-largest player in the in the broader market for public, private, and hybrid cloud services, trailing IBM, Microsoft, and 800-lb. gorilla Amazon. The company has tried to differentiate its cloud offerings by emphasizing developer needs; the Bebop acquisition fits with that effort.
May 27, 2015, 2:47 AM
- Several other Internet giants reached out and held early discussions about buying Flipboard in recent weeks, including Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Google (GOOG, GOOGL), although those talks involved ideas around how products would be integrated rather than centering around price, sources told WSJ.
- Talks with Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) went further, discussing a $1B+ all-stock deal, but those negotiations have largely stalled since April.
- Previously: Report: Twitter held talks to buy Flipboard for over $1B (May. 25 2015)
Apr. 20, 2015, 9:51 AM
- What could have been: With Tesla (TSLA -0.5%) in dire straits in March 2013 as the company struggled to fix Model S bugs and convert pre-orders into actual sales, Elon Musk reached out to Larry Page and "proposed that Google (GOOG +1.6%) buy Tesla outright," Bloomberg's Ashlee Vance reports through an excerpt from a Musk book due out on May 19.
- Vance adds Tesla would've cost Google $6B at the time after factoring "a healthy premium" - Tesla's market cap is currently $25.9B. As part of the deal, Musk wanted Google to promise to invest $5B in factory expansions and let Musk run Tesla for 8 years, until it was ready to launch a mass-market car.
- While "Musk, Page, and Google’s lawyers negotiated the specific terms of the deal" in the following weeks, Tesla's Model S sales began to take off, and the company posted its first profit and repaid its DOE loan. No longer needing a white knight, Musk broke off talks.
- A $6B Tesla acquisition would've been one of Google's largest, surpassed in size only by Motorola Mobility. Google, of course, has kept pushing ahead with its self-driving car efforts since 2013; the company has said it's talking with GM, Ford, Toyota, and others about bringing a self-driving car to market by 2020. Tesla has some interest in this space as well.
- Last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Musk met with Apple M&A execs in 2013. Apple's reported car efforts have fueled fresh speculation the company will make a bid for Tesla.
Mar. 11, 2015, 4:10 AM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is in talks to buy Bangalore-based start-up InMobi, a mobile advertising network that claims to have over 1B users across 200 countries.
- Although financial specifics are still to be discussed, InMobi had been looking for a valuation of over $2B in its discussions with investors for its next round of funding.
Mar. 4, 2015, 1:58 PM
- A day after slumping to new post-IPO lows and coming within $0.03 of $80, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has seen dip-buyers emerge in large numbers. Naturally, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is along for the ride.
- The gains come as a Chinese publication reports Jack Ma once said he considered acquiring Yahoo, which plans to spin off its Alibaba stake into a publicly-traded company in Q4. Ma's alleged comments: "The acquisition of Yahoo is something I worked [on] a couple of years ago, this is a political problem, not an economic problem, Yahoo is a media [company], more sensitive."
- There has already been speculation Alibaba will try to buy Yahoo's spinoff (much less politically challenging than buying the whole of Yahoo) at some point. Bloomberg's Matt Levine has noted the spinoff will have to wait a year before a deal occurs, in order to maintain its tax-free status.
- Meanwhile, Alibaba's Aliyun cloud services unit (a giant in the Chinese cloud infrastructure market) has opened a Silicon Valley data center, its first in the U.S. For now, the data center will cater to Chinese companies with U.S. operations, but it plans to go after non-Chinese clients later this year. When it does, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and a slew of other incumbents will be waiting.
Jan. 18, 2015, 12:57 PM
- TechCrunch reports Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is interested in acquiring Softcard, the mobile payments platform launched by AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), and T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) in 2010 - it was previously known as Isis, before changing its name for obvious reasons. Though Softcard's owners have invested hundreds of millions in the venture, sources state Google's purchase price could be below $100M.
- Like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, Softcard relies on NFC radios to enable transactions. And like Wallet, it has struggled to get off the ground, as U.S. consumers overwhelmingly stick with card swipes. Hard data on Apple Pay usage remains limited for now.
- Softcard recently laid off 60 employees. Meanwhile, it was reported in 2013 that Google had spent $300M on Wallet-related acquisitions, with little to show for it. The adoption of EMV (chip-and-PIN) readers by U.S. retailers could give NFC solutions a boost, by making card payments a little less convenient.
- The WSJ reports Google is partnering with consulting giant PwC to bid on a $2B+ contract to update the DoD's electronic health records system. PwC says Google's tools could both improve the system's security and performance, and lower costs. A group featuring IBM, HP (NYSE:HPQ), and CSC has made a rival bid.
- Ad tech firm Marin Software (NYSE:MRIN) provides some encouraging mobile search data ahead of Google's Jan. 29 Q4 report. A Marin study found mobile accounted for 49% of Q4 U.S. search ad spend, up from 42% in Q3, and that smartphone ad click rates were 38% higher than PC rates (thanks in part to accidental clicks?). On the other hand, mobile still only accounted for 32% of conversions.
- Medium writer Backchannel provides a deep dive into Google Search's evolution in an era where users increasingly want search engines to know the precise meaning of their queries. Part 1 looks at Google's efforts to optimize for mobile (aided by its Knowledge Graph and Google Now). Part 2 looks at Google's real-world research into the information needs of users. Part 3 looks at Google's investments in A.I./deep learning to deliver far more intelligent search results and spontaneously surface useful information.
Aug. 26, 2014, 12:49 PM
- Google (GOOG -0.5%) was unable to buy Twitch due to concerns about "potential antitrust issues" related to the acquisition, Forbes reports. Due to the antitrust issues (stemming from Google's ownership of YouTube), the companies reportedly couldn't agree on a breakup fee.
- Meanwhile, Amazon (AMZN +2.4%) is rallying amid favorable reviews for the Twitch acquisition. Analyst Jan Dawson sees Twitch expanding Amazon's advertising scale and drawing in new customers, and thinks its streaming tech could strengthen other Amazon services. "Amazon is clearly taking digital media very seriously, and spending heavily to fund it."
- The Verge's Ben Popper observes Twitch will get to make full use of AWS, and will now have Amazon's resources to help with licensing. VC Ethan Kurzweil (a Twitch investor) thinks non-gaming use cases are possible. "We think that Amazon is investing here in Internet infrastructure and something more than gaming media ... What Twitch has really built here is a video-based community around any activity."
- Yesterday: Amazon buying Twitch for $970M in cash
Aug. 25, 2014, 1:41 PM
- The Information reports Amazon (AMZN +1%) "has been in late-stage talks" to acquire popular game-broadcasting platform Twitch, and could announce a deal shortly. Prior reports stated Google (GOOG -0.4%) was close to a deal to buy Twitch for ~$1B, or had fully reached one.
- Twitch, whose platform allows users to live-stream their gaming activity (along with running commentary), has 50M+ users and a network of 4K+ content provider partners. The startup claims its average user watches 95 minutes/day of content.
- Buying Twitch would represent a major investment by Amazon in free (ad-supported) online video. Thus far, the bulk of the company's Web video investments have been directed towards Prime Instant Video. Amazon has also been fleshing out its own game studio.
- The Information's report shortly follows a WSJ report stating Amazon is working on a keyword-based ad platform (called Sponsored Links) that aims to replace ads based on Google's bread-and-butter AdWords keyword platform on Amazon's site and elsewhere. Amazon has already built up a sizable ad business, aided by its volumes of customer data.
- Update (2:05PM): The WSJ reports Amazon has agreed to buy Twitch for $1B+.
Aug. 22, 2014, 2:42 PM
- Gecko Design is an 18-year-old product design/engineering firm that has done work for Dell, H-P, Logitech, and Herman Miller, among others. As usual, Google (GOOG - unchanged) hasn't disclosed an acquisition price.
- Gecko will be joining Sergey Brin's secretive Google X unit. Google X projects for which Gecko's hardware skills could be of value include Glass (still awaiting a full commercial launch) and Google's self-driving car effort.
- Google has already been working with eyewear vendors to make Glass more aesthetically pleasing (and less conspicuous). Meanwhile, the company showed off its first internally-designed self-driving car prototypes in May; they have no steering wheels or pedals.
Aug. 7, 2014, 2:54 AM
- Google (GOOG, GOOGL) is now giving better search rankings to Web pages that are encrypted.
- The company hopes that its new search algorithm will make the Web more secure, and encourage developers to better protect websites and information.
- Separately, Google's YouTube division announced yesterday that it had acquired Directr, an app used by small businesses to create marketing videos.
Alphabet, Inc. is a newly founded holding company for the Google group of businesses. Under the new operating structure, its main Google business will include search, ads, maps, apps, YouTube and Android and the related technical infrastructure (the 'Google business'). Businesses such as Calico,... More
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