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  • Tue, May 10, 2:48 PM
    • Marketo (NASDAQ:MKTO) has resumed trading after a volatility halt, spiking up 15.5% on reports that it's considering strategic options, including a possible sale of the company.
    • Shares had moved in early April on similar talk, possibly with acquisition interest from Microsoft or SAP.
    • Later last month, Bernstein speculated that most likely acquirers were SAP, Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).
    • Now read Competition The Issue As Marketo Pivots To Enterprise »
    • »
    | Tue, May 10, 2:48 PM
  • Tue, May 3, 2:09 PM
    • Acquisition-happy Microsoft's (MSFT -1.3%) latest buyout target is Solair, an Italian provider of software/services used to deploy, monitor, and collect data from IoT devices. Terms are undisclosed; offshore cash was presumably used.
    • Microsoft: "Solair shares our ambition for helping customers harness their untapped data and create new intelligence with IoT, and this acquisition supports our strategy to deliver the most complete IoT offering for enterprises." The company adds Solair's services are built on Azure, and will be integrated with Microsoft's Azure IoT Suite (launched last year).
    • Existing Solair clients include espresso machine maker Rancilio Group and power supply system maker AEG Power. In addition to Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, and Cisco have been making big investments in cloud-based IoT services. In February, Cisco announced a $1.4B+ deal to buy IoT service provider Jasper Technologies.
    • Recent Microsoft acquisitions
    | Tue, May 3, 2:09 PM | 10 Comments
  • 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 »
    | Thu, Apr. 7, 2:58 PM | 30 Comments
  • Thu, Mar. 24, 7:49 PM
    • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been meeting with private-equity firms and saying it might lend "significant" financing to a bid for Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Re/code reports.
    • That could add seriousness to what many have considered a slow sales process on Yahoo's part. Earlier today, Starboard followed through on launching a proxy challenge with its own board slate amid its complaints about the sales effort.
    • Microsoft's chief of partnerships and acquisition strategy, Peggy Johnson, is part of that company's talks, sources told Re/code -- with a clear interest in making sure whoever buys Yahoo will be a good partner, alongside Microsoft's close search and advertising ties to the company.
    • Yahoo may want $10B for a core business many price at $6B-$8B. “If Microsoft put in a billion, it would cost them almost nothing,” says one investor. “It’s a minor thing and it buys them a lot.”
    | Thu, Mar. 24, 7:49 PM | 39 Comments
  • Fri, Mar. 4, 4:59 PM
    • TechCrunch reports Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) considered buying Slack (Private:SLACK), a fast-growing provider of enterprise messaging/collaboration apps and services, for up to $8B.
    • EVP Qi Lu (in charge of Office, Bing, Skype, Exchange, and SharePoint) reportedly pushed for a deal, but Bill Gates and Satya Nadella ultimately shot it down, with Gates arguing Microsoft should try to better compete with Slack by adding features to Skype for Business (formerly known as Lync).
    • Slack was valued at $2.8B in a 2015 funding round, and was recently reported to be looking to raise $150M-$300M at a $3.5B-$4B valuation. The company competes to an extent with newly-public Atlassian (NASDAQ:TEAM), and monetizes its services through a freemium model. It recently claimed to have 2.3M daily active users (675K paying), up from just 520K a year ago, along with $64M in annual recurring revenue. (Slack's product page)
    • Continuing a recent trend of making nice with popular rival services, Microsoft recently struck a deal with Slack to allow Skype voice/video calls to be launched from Slack apps. The company has also moved to improve Skype's iOS/Android feature set, and to integrate a slew of Skype features with enterprise versions of Office 365.
    | Fri, Mar. 4, 4:59 PM | 21 Comments
  • Wed, Feb. 24, 2:24 PM
    • Xamarin provides popular software tools for developing mobile apps (iOS, Android, and Windows) using the C# programming language, as well as a cloud-based test platform for apps that supports multiple languages. Microsoft (MSFT -0.1%) is continuing its mobile M&A spree by acquiring Xamarin for an undisclosed sum.
    • Microsoft notes Xamarin has 15K+ customers (including over 100 Fortune 500 firms) and claims the support of 1.3M developers. Notable clients include Honeywell, Kellogg's, Flipboard, Thermo-Fisher, NBCUniversal, and Microsoft itself.
    • Redmond has already partnered with Xamarin to integrate the company's tools with its core Visual Studio software development platform, as well as with Azure, Office 365, and the Enterprise Mobility Suite. The company declares "the combination of Xamarin, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services, and Azure delivers a complete mobile app dev solution that provides everything a developer needs to develop, test, deliver and instrument mobile apps for every device."
    • The news comes three weeks after Microsoft announced it's buying iOS/Android keyboard developer SwiftKey; the FT reported the purchase price is $250M. HockeyApp, a provider of tools for analyzing app crash data and distributing beta releases, was acquired in 2014.
    • Update: A source talking with the WSJ put the deal price at between $400M and $500M.
    | Wed, Feb. 24, 2:24 PM | 8 Comments
  • Wed, Feb. 3, 9:21 AM
    • SwiftKey's iOS/Android keyboard apps have over 300M users - a Samsung pre-install deal has helped - and are declared to have "saved nearly 10 trillion keystrokes, across 100 languages" with the help of A.I. that learns a user's typing tendencies to predict his/her next word. They also feature an autocorrect tool that adapts to a user's writing style, and an option to type by swiping from letter to letter.
    • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is buying SwiftKey for an undisclosed sum; the FT reports the acquisition price is $250M. With SwiftKey based in London, offshore cash is likely being used.
    • Microsoft: "We’ll continue to develop SwiftKey’s market-leading keyboard apps for Android and iOS as well as explore scenarios for the integration of the core technology across the breadth of our product and services portfolio. Moreover, SwiftKey’s predictive technology aligns with Microsoft’s investments and ambition to develop intelligent systems that can work more on the user’s behalf and under their control." The company adds SwiftKey will be integrated with its Word Flow touch keyboard.
    • The purchase is the latest in a string of Microsoft acquisitions of iOS/Android productivity apps. Others include Wunderlist (to-do lists), Accompli (e-mail), and Sunrise (calendars). Nuance's (NASDAQ:NUAN) Swype is a notable SwiftKey rival.
    | Wed, Feb. 3, 9:21 AM | 14 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 19, 1:25 PM
    • 16 months after announcing the $2.5B purchase of Minecraft developer Mojang, Microsoft (MSFT -0.8%) has disclosed the acquisition of MinecraftEdu, a version of the hit block-placing game meant specifically for classrooms, and used in 40+ countries. Terms are undisclosed.
    • MinecraftEdu will underpin a product known as Minecraft Education Edition that will launch a a free trial this summer. Existing MinecraftEdu customers will get the game free for a year.
    • Microsoft has previously suggested it acquired Minecraft in part to develop stronger ties with younger consumers - the company has even released a tutorial that uses Minecraft to teach kids how to code. 22.2M copies of the PC/Mac edition of Minecraft have been sold; as of last June, over 70M copies had been sold across PCs/Macs, mobile devices, and consoles.
    • Prior Microsoft acquisitions
    | Tue, Jan. 19, 1:25 PM
  • Dec. 31, 2015, 7:03 PM
    • Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) could make a bid for storage array vendor NetApp (NASDAQ:NTAP) and threat-prevention hardware/software provider FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE) in 2016, thinks FBR's Dan Ives. Cisco/NetApp speculation has been around for a while. Meanwhile, Cisco has made several security acquisitions in recent years, and appears to be up for more, but has also launched products that compete with FireEye.
    • Ives also thinks IBM could bid for machine/log data analytics software leader Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK) and business intelligence/data visualization software firm QLIK. With a $7.6B market cap and high multiples, Splunk would be a costlier acquisition than IBM's traditional fare.
    • HP Enterprise (NYSE:HPE), meanwhile, is seen as a potential suitor for both Qlik and enterprise cloud storage/file-sharing leader BOX. And Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) a potential buyer of cloud ERP, HR, and e-commerce software firm NetSuite (NYSE:N). Larry Ellison owns a large stake in NetSuite (more SMB-focused than Oracle), and the company both competes and partners with Oracle.
    • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which has made plenty of acquisitions in the Satya Nadella era, is seen as a potential buyer of database security software and Web app firewall vendor Imperva (NYSE:IMPV), as well as of cloud vulnerability management and compliance software firm Qualys (NASDAQ:QLYS). Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC), which has signaled it will make security acquisitions after the sale of its Veritas unit closes, is considered a possible acquirer of e-mail/compliance security software provider Proofpoint (NASDAQ:PFPT).
    • Yesterday: FBR sees improving cybersecurity spend, likes several stocks
    | Dec. 31, 2015, 7:03 PM | 13 Comments
  • Dec. 21, 2015, 1:23 PM
    • Microsoft (MSFT +0.6%) has bought Talko, a developer of iOS/Android apps that enable workgroups to collaborate via live and recorded voice and text. Terms are undisclosed.
    • Notably, Talko was founded by Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's former CTO and chief software architect, and someone once referred to by Bill Gates as one of the best programmers on the planet. Ozzie won't be rejoining Microsoft, but the rest of Talko's team will be coming on board.
    • Talko's technology will be integrated with both Skype and the Skype for Business (formerly Lync) unified communications platform. In addition to saving voice conversations, its apps let users tag and bookmark specific moments during a talk, and use a phone's camera to share related photos or live video. Saved content gets stored in the cloud, and cached on devices.
    • Microsoft has made a string of productivity app purchases in recent years, as it tries to keep Google and upstarts such as Slack (Pending:SLACK) at bay. Past deals include Yammer (enterprise social networking), Sunrise (calendars), Acompli (e-mail), and Wunderlist (to-do lists).
    • Separately, Barron's is out with another bullish column on Microsoft (it also had one in July). The paper once more praises Satya Nadella's cloud investments, argues Azure's hybrid cloud support acts as a selling point as it battles with AWS for enterprise accounts, and argues shares could rise 30% over the next 18 months.
    • Last week: Goldman upgrades Microsoft, company buys data integration/analytics startup Metanautix
    | Dec. 21, 2015, 1:23 PM | 2 Comments
  • Dec. 18, 2015, 9:50 AM
    • "We were wrong," writes Goldman's Heather Bellini while upgrading Microsoft (MSFT -0.5%) to Neutral after keeping shares at Sell amid a major 2-year rally. Her target has been hiked by $12 to $57.
    • Bellini: "We are increasing our out year non-GAAP EPS estimates, driven primarily by faster gross margin expansion in Office 365 and Azure. While we still believe EPS consensus for FY17 and FY18 are too high, given the ongoing successful transition to the cloud we do not see the multiple coming under pressure."
    • She adds several 2016 catalysts exist: A continued successful cloud transition, gross profit dollar growth (in spite of cloud-related margin pressure), EPS growth, the diminishing of headwinds related to weak business PC sales and the Office 365 transition (pushes out Office revenue recognition), and accelerating dividend growth.
    • Shares are off slightly in spite of the upgrade. Bellini's upgrade comes a day after Microsoft made a fresh high of $56.79, before retreating a bit.
    • Update: Some more Microsoft news: The company has bought Metanautix, a startup providing software that enables SQL databases to access and integrate numerous data sources for analytics purposes. Microsoft, which has made a string of analytics acquisitions in the Satya Nadella era (see Datazen and Revolution Analytics), plans to integrate Metanautix's technology with Azure and SQL Server.
    | Dec. 18, 2015, 9:50 AM | 24 Comments
  • Nov. 9, 2015, 1:42 PM
    • Secure Islands' software automatically classifies, sets access policies for, and (if needed) encrypts unstructured data (documents, e-mails, photos, etc.) when it's created or otherwise first enters a company's IT infrastructure. It also provides an auditing/reporting tool for providing an overview of a company's data usage.
    • Microsoft (MSFT -1.8%) is buying Secure Islands for an undisclosed sum. ZDNet reports the purchase price is ~$77.5M; Globes reports it's between $100M-$150M.
    • Microsoft: "This acquisition accelerates our ability to help customers secure their business data no matter where it is stored – across on-premises systems, Microsoft cloud services like Azure and Office 365, third-party services, and any Windows, iOS or Android device." Secure Islands' technology will be integrated with Microsoft's cloud-based Azure Rights Management service, which (for $2/user/month) protects e-mails, Office docs, and other content from unauthorized access.
    • Secure Islands is Microsoft's third acquisition of an Israeli security tech firm in the last year. The others are cybersecurity/identity-protection software vendor Aorato, and cloud/SaaS app security software vendor Adallom. The company has also recently bought two other Israeli companies: Text-analysis/e-discovery software firm Equivio, and Surface stylus chip developer N-trig.
    • Secure Islands already has a partnership with Adallom. Varonis (VRNS -1.4%), a leader in the unstructured data management/governance software space, is a rival, as are EMC and Dell.
    | Nov. 9, 2015, 1:42 PM | 3 Comments
  • Oct. 2, 2015, 2:30 PM
    • Microsoft (MSFT +0.9%) has bought Havok, developer of a widely-used 3D physics engine and related tools for game developers, from Intel (INTC +0.7%) for an undisclosed sum. Intel bought Havok in 2007, reportedly for ~$110M.
    • Game developers that have used Havok include Activision, Electronic Arts, Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft itself. Microsoft declares the purchase complements its existing developer tools and platforms, such as Visual Studio, DirectX, and Azure, and promises to continue supporting 3rd-party game developers and Sony/Nintendo consoles.
    • Microsoft: "Havok shares Microsoft’s vision for empowering people to create worlds and experiences that have never been seen before, and we look forward to sharing more of this vision in the near future." The purchase follows last year's $2.5B acquisition of Minecraft developer Mojang, and comes as Redmond both gets set to launch its HoloLens augmented reality headset (will support gaming in addition to enterprise/productivity apps). and partners with Oculus to support the use of its Rift VR headset with Windows 10 PCs.
    | Oct. 2, 2015, 2:30 PM | 12 Comments
  • Sep. 11, 2015, 2:46 PM
    • A buyout rumor has once more given a lift to AMD (AMD +9.8%): This time, Fudzilla (citing "industry sources") states Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is "seriously talking" to the hard-luck chipmaker about acquiring it.
    • A number of AMD buyout rumors have come and gone over the years without panning out. KitGuru reported in June Microsoft "may acquire" AMD.
    • AMD was previously trading near breakeven in spite of an upgrade to Market Perform from Bernstein's Stacy Rasgon, who argued bad news has been priced in and that "the possibility of a lifeline may be growing."
    | Sep. 11, 2015, 2:46 PM | 104 Comments
  • Sep. 8, 2015, 7:02 PM
    • Ahead of tomorrow's expected unveiling of a 12.9" iPad Pro, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) states Dell and HP will begin reselling its Surface Pro high-end tablet/convertible line and provide related support services.
    • The deals are part of a broader Surface Enterprise Initiative meant to boost corporate sales - IT services giant Accenture is also a partner - and suggest at least two major PC OEMs have made peace with Microsoft's decision to compete against them via the Surface line.
    • With the low-cost Surface 3 providing a lift. Microsoft's Surface revenue rose 117% Y/Y in calendar Q2 to $888M. A new high-end model - the Surface Pro 4 - is rumored to be launching this fall.
    • Separately, Microsoft has confirmed its purchase of Adallom, an Israeli provider of cloud-based software for securing popular cloud/SaaS apps from the likes of Salesforce, Box, ServiceNow, Amazon, Google, and yes, Microsoft (Office 365/Yammer). Bloomberg and TechCrunch report the purchase price is ~$250M, less than the $320M previously reported by the WSJ.
    • Microsoft: "Adallom expands on Microsoft’s existing identity assets, and delivers a cloud access security broker, to give customers visibility and control over application access as well as their critical company data stored across cloud services ... Adallom will complement existing offerings that Microsoft makes available today as part of Office 365 and the Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), including our recent Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics release."
    | Sep. 8, 2015, 7:02 PM | 7 Comments
  • Aug. 6, 2015, 2:15 PM
    • P-E firms Permira has closed its $5.3B ($48.75/share) acquisition of Informatica (INFA +0.4%), a deal first announced on April 7. Sohaib Abbasi will step down as Informatica's CEO, but remain chairman.
    • Along with the deal's closing, Informatica has announced Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) have become "strategic investors," taking stakes of undisclosed sizes in the data warehousing software vendor.
    | Aug. 6, 2015, 2:15 PM | 2 Comments