By Scott Denne
Having seemingly solved its earlier problems with mobile revenue, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is turning its attention - and M&A activity - toward the next emerging media trend: social video.
The social networking giant has already shown that it can shift its business to meet emerging trends. When it went public less than 18 months ago, practically none of its revenue came from mobile. In Facebook's most recent quarter, its mobile advertising products brought in 41% of its total ad revenue. More than a little of the growth can be tied to its rapid-fire acquisition program. After spending $1bn on photo-sharing app Instagram, Facebook has pursued a strategy of smaller deals to shore up its mobile technology and team, including its purchases of facial-recognition company Face.com and location-based app maker Glancee.
Its latest addition to the mobile business is Luma, a two-year-old startup based in Palo Alto, California. Facebook had hinted that a deal like this was a possibility. In its most recent earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Instagram's newly launched video-sharing capabilities were in need of technology to stabilize the amateur videos on the app. That technology is at Luma's core.
Acquisitions have always been a big part of Facebook's business plan, but it has spent relatively little money in picking up new businesses, aside from its $1bn purchase of Instagram in 2012. Excluding that deal, Facebook spent $155m buying about 26 companies in 2011 and 2012. Through the first half of this year, the company has spent $246m on six transactions.
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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.