AT&T announces it will purchase Time Warner for $86 billion. The buyout grants AT&T distributor power over CNN and HBO. AT&T says the deal will give customers ‘unmatched choice, quality, value and experiences that will define the future of media and communications” and the new company would “lead the next wave of innovation in converging media and communications industry.’ AT&T CEO Stephenson:
This is a perfect match of two companies with complementary strengths who can bring a fresh approach to how the media and communications industry works for customers, content creators, distributors and advertisers.
Johnston Press announces it is selling the Isle of Man Examiner, Isle of Man Courier, Manx Independent and www.iomtoday.co.im. to Tindle Newspapers for £4.25m. Johnston Press CEO Highfield:
This disposal is further progress in executing our divestment strategy and allows the group to realise immediate value from our Isle of Man assets. I would like to thank the staff of our Isle of Man business for their loyalty and dedication over the years and we wish them well for a successful future.
Buying a profitable local weekly set-up such as the Isle of Man trio is certainly a departure from our early days when, without much cash, we mostly bought papers that were in trouble, or we had to launch them ourselves. We are most grateful to Ashley Highfield and his colleagues for all their assistance in bringing about this agreement…Everyone at Tindle Newspapers, will make [the staff] all very welcome just as soon as we are able to do so.
Johnston Press completes the £24m purchase of i newspaper, and prints its first edition. The paper will be available in Northern Ireland for the first time. CEO Highfield:
i is a highly regarded newspaper with a clear market position and a loyal readership. By joining with Johnston Press the combined circulation will be equal to 9 per cent of national daily circulation, making us the fourth largest player in the market. This enhanced reach represents a significant growth opportunity for Johnston Press in terms of national print and advertising revenue. It also rebalances our revenues towards less volatile circulation revenues. With our considerable digital experience the combination of Johnston Press and i will also allow us to grow digital audiences and revenues through the creation of inews.co.uk.
Johnston Press reaches a deal to buy the i newspaper from ESI Media for £24m. Highfield:
This is a transformational acquisition for Johnston Press and an important step towards delivering our long-term strategy. i is a highly-regarded newspaper with a clear market position and a loyal readership. By joining with Johnston Press the combined circulation will be equal to 9% of national daily circulation, making us the fourth-largest player in the market. This enhanced reach represents a significant growth opportunity for Johnston Press in terms of national print and digital advertising revenue. It also rebalances our revenues towards less volatile circulation revenues. With our considerable digital experience the combination of Johnston Press and i will also allow us to grow digital audiences and revenues through the creation of inews.co.uk.
IBM acquires Compose’s database as a service startup for an undisclosed sum. The company services about 3,600 clients that have created more than 100,000 databases. Compose offers services around MongoDB, Elasticsearch, RethinkDB, Redis and PostgreSQL allowing mobile and web developers to create apps without having to concern themselves with database backends. Co-founders MacKey and McKay:
Compose will be part of the IBM Cloud Data Services (CDS) group. It’s a great fit. We’ll be able to continue building what we think is important, with a brand we really like, and the same team that works so well together. All with the backing of a major company.
Compose furthers IBM’s commitment to ensuring developers have access to the right tools for the job by offering the broadest set of DBaaS service and the flexibility of hybrid cloud deployment.
In a surprise move, Nikkei acquires the Financial Times for $1.3bn from Pearson Plc. The deal does not include either the FT’s London headquarters or its 50% stake in The Economist. Pearson’s CEO Fallon says
We have reached an inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of mobile and social. In this new environment, the best way to ensure the FT’s journalistic and commercial success is for it to be part of a global, digital news company.
John Fallon discusses sale of Financial Times | FT Business
U.S. Sens. Markey and Warren urge the Obama administration to block Comcast’s proposal for a$45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable, saying the merger is bad for consumers.The lack of competition will only “make things worse” for consumers already frustrated by increasingly high cable and Internet bills. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler:
Today’s world demands affordable access to high-quality Internet and TV services. Should the transaction survive the FCC’s and DOJ’s reviews, we believe that Comcast-TWC’s unmatched power in the telecommunications industry would lead to higher prices, fewer choices, and poorer quality services for Americans.
GPlus Media, the company that publishes Japan Today, is sold to Fuji TV-Lab, a subsidiary of Fuji Media Holdings Inc. The sales also includes GPlus’ other internet properties, including GaijinPot and Real Estate Japan. Fuji TV-Lab:
The Japanese government has set an annual target of 20 million foreign visitors to Japan in 2020 for the Tokyo Olympic/Paralympics Games and Fuji Media Holdings expects this will increase the demand for media targeting foreign residents and visitors to Japan at an accelerated pace. In the context of this trend, Fuji Media Holdings understands that there is a favorable opportunity to create several inbound/outbound businesses and thus welcomes GPlus Media and REJ into the group to strengthen its ability to reach the foreign community in Japan.
The NBA approves Jordan’s bid of $275 million to buy the Bobcats from majority owner Johnson. Jordan will assume about $150 million in debt in the deal. He becomes the second black majority owner of a major pro sports team.
Purchasing the Bobcats is the culmination of my post-playing career goal of becoming a majority owner of an NBA franchise. I am especially pleased to have the opportunity to build a winning team in my home state of North Carolina..I am especially pleased to have the opportunity to build a winning team in my home state of North Carolina…I plan to make this franchise an organization that Charlotte can be proud of, and I am committed to doing all that I can to achieve this goal.
The best decision I made since acquiring the Bobcats was to convince my friend Michael to become an investor in the Bobcats and to appoint him as managing member of basketball operations. As the new majority owner of the Bobcats, his dedication will be stronger now more than ever.
Jay-Z wins control of Aspiro after more than 90% of shareholders accepted the star’s $54m offer. A spokesman for Project Panther Bidco, says all the conditions for completing the acquisition have now been met. The offer is declared unconditional on Friday and Aspiro will be delisted from the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange.
Aspiro had 500,000 paying users for its streaming services at the end of 2014, which includes 35,000 subscribers for its “lossless” HiFi-quality music service that is available in the UK under the Tidal brand, a service that costs £19.99 a month – double the price of Spotify in the UK. The company had posted a net loss of $5m for the last three months of 2014, and admitted that it could run out of money at some point this year. The company plans to launch Tidal in 22 countries, mostly in Europe, by the end of March.
Lionsgate invests in Telltale Games to create entertainment that is part video game, part television show. Peter Levin of Lionsgate:
Our partnership with Kevin Bruner and his team at Telltale continues to accelerate our momentum in the game space. The convergence between premium filmed entertainment brands and original game properties is a natural direction in which to continue diversifying our content business, and Telltale is the perfect partner with whom to explore this dynamic area of growth.
Happy to welcome Lionsgate and John Ricitiello into the Telltale family. Trust me, these heavyweights really get what we're trying to do.
Jay Z, though his company, Project Panther, will buy Aspiro, a Swedish music streaming service WiMP for 464 million Swedish crowns ($56 million) in cash. Shares in Aspiro leap 59 percent in early trading, to the bid level of 1.05 crowns per share. Norwegian media house Schibsted, Aspiro’s main shareholder, says it had accepted the offer, while Aspiro’s board said it is united in recommending the bid, virtually ensuring its success. Project Panther:
Panther believes that the recent developments in the entertainment industry, with the migration to music and media streaming, offers great potential for increased entertainment consumption and an opportunity for artists to further promote their music. Panther’s strategic ambition revolves around global expansion and up-scaling of Aspiro’s platform, technology and services.
Amazon acquires Twitch, the live stream video gaming site, for over $1 billion after Google withdraws from the purchase. The deal includes a cash pay of $970 million, nearly 20 percent of Amazon’s reserve revealed in the latest quarterly report. Amazon now owns a “YouTube” type platform with the ability to reach the young men. During 2013, over half of the total viewership watched video game playing for 20 hours weekly. Bezos:
Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of games each month.
Yahoo acquires Zofari, an application that recommends places users might enjoy based on places they have already been. Yahoo:
Zofari and Yahoo share a common goal to make the world an easier place to explore for as many people as possible. We’re thrilled to welcome the team to Yahoo, where they will join our growing Search organization and continue to build amazing discovery experiences.
Regulators approve Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus. Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion in March 2014, but it takes time for state and local anti-trust teams to approve the acquisition. The companies release a joint statement:
We’re looking forward to an exciting future together building the next computing platform and reimagining the way people communicate.
Yahoo buys the video streaming platform RayV for an undisclosed amount. The company focuses on developing technology for delivering high quality broadcasts to a large number of people at once. An announcement is posted on the RayV website:
Our RayV adventure now comes to a pivot, and we couldn’t be more excited. We believe Yahoo will be a perfect fit for our people and capabilities, as Video and Mobile offerings are a central part of Yahoo’s vision.
Facebook acquires LiveRail, an advertising technology company that creates video ads for websites and apps. LiveRail customers include companies such as Major League Baseball, Gannett, DailyMotion and ABC Family.
We believe that LiveRail, Facebook and the premium publishers it serves have an opportunity to make video ads better and more relevant for the hundreds of millions of people who watch digital video every month.
Google acquires Songza, a service that creates soundtracks tailored to people’s changing moods, and plans to blend Songza’s technology into its own music streaming service. This service will cost $10 per month. Financial terms of the deal are not disclosed. Songza:
We can’t think of a better company to join in our quest to provide the perfect soundtrack for everything you do.
AT&T buys DirecTV for $48.5 billion, giving stockholders $95 a share in cash and stock. The deal will make AT&T the country’s second-biggest pay TV provider, behind Comcast. AT&T has about 5.7 million TV customers through its U-verse service, while the satellite TV operator has about 20.3 million customers in the United States. Randall Stephenson, chairman & CEO says:
This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the video entertainment industry and create a company able to offer new bundles and deliver content to consumers across multiple screens. If you think about what we’re trying to accomplish, we’re trying to get way down the road to get content across multiple devices. The more we peeled the onion back, frankly the better we felt about this.
Twitter acquires Vine, a service that allows users to upload video clips up to six seconds long, before its official launch. The company spends $30,000,000 on the site. The three developers of Vine, Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll, are all able to keep their positions at the company. Hofmann says:
Our companies share similar values and goals; like Twitter, we want to make it easier for people to come together to share and discover what’s happening in the world. We also believe constraint inspires creativity, whether it’s through a 140-character Tweet or a six-second video.
Bezos purchases the Washington Post, an American newspaper with a circulation of 474,767 subscribers. The $250,000,000 cash sale ends ownership of the paper by the Graham family. The paper has been in the family for the last four generations. Graham says:
Every member of my family started out with the same emotion — shock — in even thinking about [selling The Post] …. But when the idea of a transaction with Jeff Bezos came up, it altered my feelings.
Bezos will have sole ownership of the paper and the Post’s subsidiary properties. Bezos will remain in Seattle and continue to run the daily operations of Amazon. “I have a fantastic day job that I love,” he said.
The companies don’t disclose valuation. Seesmic’s latest incarnation, as a social media cross-posting tool, is in line with HootSuite’s business. VentureBeat reports that Seesmic has 30,000-40,000 uniques a month and may be treated as a new product by HootSuite. HootSuite CEO Holmes:
I have always had a lot of respect for Seesmic’s CEO, Loïc Le Meur, and the role Seesmic has played in advancing social business. We are thrilled to welcome Seesmic’s users into the HootSuite family.
Time Warner acquires Insight Communications in a $3 billion deal. The company gains an additional 760,000 customers from Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. No time frame is announced for programming or pricing changes. Spokeswoman Green says in a statement:
We really need to learn more about the network and local operations before we can talk about that. That’s something we’ll learn over the next few months.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/02/29/2089006/time-warner-cable-takes-over-insight.html#storylink=cpy
Karpeles buys Mt. Gox from an unemployed software hacker named Jed McCaleb. Before the site started trading in Bitcoins, it was an online marketplace where people could buy and sell cards for the Magic: The Gathering trading card game. Mt. Gox is short for “Magic: The Gathering Online Exchange” McCaleb, nervous about regulatory scrutiny on bitcoin, wanted rid of the exchange and sold it to Karpeles in for no upfront fee, people with knowledge of the deal said. Karpeles told others he had later paid McCaleb a small fee, calling it “a very good deal”.
AutoTrader.com agrees to purchaseHomeNet Automotive for an undiclosed sum. At the time of the sale HomeNet has $16 million in annual revenues, 135 employees and more than 18,000 dealers. AutoTrader.com plans to operate HomeNet as an independent subsidiary run by Bob Landers, a 10-year AutoTrader.com veteran sales executive.
It is reported that in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission the company writes that in December 2010, AutoTrader “acquired certain assets of HomeNet in a business combination for cash consideration of $61.6 million.” Biter calls that number “inaccurate,” but says he is bound by contract not to discuss details of the transaction.
It was enough money to retire for the rest of my life. But that’s not me. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.
The company annouces the acquisition along with the purchases of instructional video site 5min and Thing Labs Inc. People familiar with the deal say it paid around $30 million for TechCrunch. Arrington is retained on a multi-year deal. AOL chief executive Armstrong:
The one thing that doesn’t change is people’s consumption of content.
Intel pays $7.68 billion to acquire McAfee Associates. Intel hopes the purchase will separate its products from those of its rivals and accelerate its move into smartphones and consumer electronics. According to the research firm IDC, McAfee has 17.7 percent of the market for securing computing devices, trailing the market leader Symantec, which has 36.2 percent.
Ebay sells Skype at a value of $2.75 billion to Silver Lake Partners, which includes Joltid, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Andreessen Horowitz. SLP acquires a 70 percent stake in the Internet communication company. Andreesen notes:
Skype is gigantic and yet still a relatively small percentage of international call volume. This is, and ought to be, one of the most important companies on the Internet.
After publishing over 700 issues, the Devlins sell Metropolis to Lloyd, a New Zealand and Australian dual national, based in Japan. Over 14 years the magazine has grown to over 80 full-color pages every week made by a team of 35 staff from all over the world. The magazine has annual sales of ¥360 million and 20% profit, from hundreds of display and commercial classified advertisers and is, by far, Japan’s No 1 English magazine. A brief history of Metropolis is here.
Horowitz sells Opsware (formerly Loudcloud) to Hewlett-Packard Co. for approximately $1.6 billion. The cash tender deal values the company at $14.25 per share, making it the third-largest acquistion in HP’s history. Opsware has 350 customers and 550 staff, which HP intends to take on as part of the deal. Tom Hogan, senior VP of software at HP, says:
The acquisition of Opsware is intended to enable HP Software to help our customers resolve one of their critical pain points: controlling the increasing complexity and cost of managing the data center.
Condé Nast Publications acquires Reddit for a reported $20 million. All four Reddit employees relocate from Boston to Wired’s San Francisco office and become part of Wired Digital, which the company bought three months previously. Conde Naste:
Our goal will be to build Reddit as an independent company by collaborating with Wired through the integration of its core technology, and by offering partnerships to allow other companies to do the same.
At this time the site has 70,000 daily unique visitors and approximately 700,000 or so page views.
Erving Wonder is acquired by Sanctuary Group Inc., which manages some of the world’s biggest artists. Carter and Erving are appointed as Executive Vice Presidents of Sanctuary Urban. Sanctuary CEO Mercuriadis:
Erving Wonder has made a tremendous impact in both the music and the film world having developed an impressive roster of multi-talented, commercially viable and important artists. Troy and J’s strategic business sense, relationships with the smartest executives in the industry and their ability to brand artists and entertainers made them our number one choice for the development of Sanctuary Urban.
Our goal is to take artists to an unheard of level in the U.S. and internationally. The Erving Wonder/Sanctuary collaboration will create more opportunities to help artists transcend music genres, TV/Film, and establish unique branding options.
AOL announces it is acquiring Netscape Communications Corp. for $4.2 billion. Andreessen is negotiating a position with the company after announcing a sabbatical. Netscape President/CEO Barksdale is joining AOL’s board of directors, but will not hold an operating role:
Netscape is doing this because it’s in the best interests of Netscape.
Yahoo issues 455,000 common shares in exchange for Viaweb, valuing the deal around $49 million. Viaweb now has 21 full-time employees at its Cambridge, Mass., headquarters. Graham says it was an early prototype for today’s startups:
The reason we know that it’s possible to start a start-up with about $10,000 and someone to help with the paperwork is because that’s exactly what we had.
Feld Technologies, now at 20 people and just under $2m in revenues, is acquired by Sage Technologies (which becomes AmeriData Technologies). Feld becomes Chief Technology Officer. Feld Technologies becomes AmeriData Consulting. By 1997 AmeriData Consulting is a 400 person, $40 million organization and is sold to GE Capital.
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