Moo.com, one of the most popular online business card printing startups, has acquired Flavors.me, a web service which allows users to create personalized digital profiles. Flavors.me currently has more than 500,000 users. The transaction includes the Flavors.me brand, technology and its entire user base.
Richard Moross, CEO of Moo.com, posted a press release on the Flavors.me blog:
“Hello we’re MOO.COM — and we love to print.
Yes — we’re a printer! (It’s just like the internet, only slower.) However, like you, we’re also passionate about great design — which is why we’re delighted to announce our acquisition of Flavors.me. But don’t worry — we’re not going to get all weird and start bossing you about. Just think of us as your mom’s new husband. The kind that buys you a car, obviously — not the kind that makes you call him dad (nobody likes that guy.)
We’re huge fans of Flavors — it demonstrates beautifully how the web has opened up great design tools for everyone. It also benefits from thousands of cool, beautiful customers (okay, maybe we do sort of want you to love us like we’re your real dad.) So we’re putting all our efforts into making it even easier for you to create an awesome-looking Flavors page.
We’re excited to start working together, so do drop by MOO.COM at some point and have a look around. And if you have any questions, please visit the Flavors help page — we’d love to hear from you.
Looking forward to a future of even more great design with you!”
The service will continue to run as before, and you can expect integration with Moo.com. The acquisition price hasn’t been revealed, but it isn’t likely to be very high. This purchase not only allows Moo.com to expand into adjacent verticals and provides additional cross-selling opportunities, but also expands its user base.
via Flavors.me Blog, Techcrunch
Facebook has been under tremendous pressure to monetize its massive user base through advertising or any other means ever since it went public. Its stock price has dropped significantly below its IPO price on concerns that it might not be able to monetize its growing mobile user base.
Today, it announced that it will start charging businesses and merchants to run and promote Facebook Offers on its social network. While the service was hitherto completely free, Facebook will now charge businesses at least $5 to promote Facebook offers to its fans and their friends. The cost of running an offer will depend on its reach.
Gokul Rajaram, director of product management for Facebook’s advertising and Pages businesses, said:
“We think this aligns incentives nicely. The best results on Facebook Offers will come from organic distribution plus paid distribution.
The requirement to pay for related ads will focus merchants on who and where they want the offer to reach.”
Facebook’s focus on generating revenue should offer some respite to investors, but its impact on the user experience remains to be seen.
Adobe reported its earnings for the third quarter of 2012, with revenue increasing to $1.08 billion, up 7% year-over-year. It reported an operating profit of nearly $278 million, and a net income of $201 million.
Its cash reserves increased to $1.16 billion, while its short term investments increased to $2.08 billion. Its operating cash flow for the quarter was $263 million.
Creative Cloud paid subscription growth in the third quarter was very encouraging, with the total user base growing to nearly 200,000 by the end. Its digital marketing suite also recorded nearly 40% year-over-year growth.
Shantanu Narayen, president and CEO of Adobe, said:
“Customers globally are adopting our new Creative Cloud subscription offering more quickly than we projected. We are the leader in the fast-growing Digital Marketing category with 40 percent year-over-year Digital Marketing Suite revenue growth this quarter.”
Adobe also projected revenue for the next quarter in the same range of $1.075 billion to $1.125 billion.
via Adobe Q3FY12 Earnings
Alibaba and Yahoo have had a very tenuous relationship, with the former trying to buy back its stake from the latter since years. Last month, it was revealed that Alibaba was trying to raise close to $8 billion in order to buy around 20% of its stake from Yahoo.
In a press release today, Alibaba announced that it had completed the repurchase of its shares from Yahoo In a transaction worth approximately $7.6 billion.
The transaction includes around half of Yahoo’s 40% stake in Alibaba, valued at $7.1 billion, and a one time cash payment of $550 million related to their existing technology and intellectual property licensing agreements.
Jack Ma, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group, said:
“The completion of this transaction begins a new chapter in our relationship with Yahoo! We are grateful for Yahoo!’s support of our growth over the past seven years, and we are pleased to be able to deliver meaningful returns to our shareholders including Yahoo!. I look forward to working with Marissa Mayer and her team in our continued partnership.”
It was initially expected that Yahoo would return most of the cash to shareholders, but under Marissa Mayer’s reign, that cash might be put to better use and fuel the growth of the aging giant through acquisitions.
Zynga has been an expert at growing its user base by acquiring smaller gaming studios and startups in the last couple of years. Just before its IPO, it acquired Draw Something, its biggest acquisition to date. While its stock price has crashed significantly in the last couple of months, it still has a significant amount of cash in its coffers.
Today, it acquired a California based game maker, A Bit Lucky Inc., for around $20 million. This is one of its relatively larger acquisitions. A Bit Lucky has been focused on mid-core games, which fall between Zynga’s casual games and hardcore online games. This acquisition adds additional genres to Zynga’s portfolio of games, and allows it to expand its online audience beyond just casual gamers.
Zynga currently has nearly 330 million monthly active users and 50 million daily active users. With acquisitions like these, it keeps adding talent to continue churning out new games, while also adding to its user base instantaneously.
Zynga’s stock price stands at around $3.10, giving it a market cap of around $2.4 billion. It has cash reserves of nearly $1.6 billion.
Oracle has resumed its acquisition spree, and acquired yet another enterprise cloud startup, SelectMinds, which is a provider of cloud-based employee recruitment and HR services.
According to Oracle’s official press release, “SelectMinds’ applications enable organizations to empower recruiters, hiring managers and employees to leverage social connections to distribute job opportunities, source higher quality referrals, market their employment brand and manage corporate alumni relationships.”
SelectMinds will enable it to add more capabilities to Taleo’s feature set and offer a more comprehensive solution to enterprise customers — one that leverages social channels like Facebook and Twitter, as well as their employees existing social networks to improving their hiring capabilities.
“The combination of Oracle and SelectMinds’ complementary social sourcing capabilities is expected to create a comprehensive recruiting, candidate sourcing, and talent management offering for organizations to reach quality referrals through social recruiting.”
Oracle competes in this space with the likes of SAP, Salesforce.com, and a lot of other smaller players. This is yet another acquisition by the giant to leverage the cloud and “social” to improve its enterprise software offerings.
The exact terms of the acquisition haven’t been announced yet, but they should be reflected in Oracle’s next earnings release.
Square was rumored to be working on its fourth round of funding since months now, at an estimated valuation of $4 billion. However, the disastrous Facebook IPO changed the fundraising market, and we didn’t hear much about that until now. Apparently, Square has announced its fourth round of funding which values it at $3.25 billion, impressive by any standard.
Square has raised $200 million in its Series D round, from investors like Citi Ventures, Rizvi Traverse Management, and Starbucks Coffee Company. It has grown significantly in the past year, and now has a run rate of nearly $8 billion in payments annually. It has grown to nearly 400 employees, and will continue to add more to fuel its expansion.
This latest round brings its total funds raised to around $340 million. It competes primarily with Verifone and PayPal.
They issued a press release announcing the same:
“Square (www.squareup.com), the company revolutionizing commerce, announced today that it has closed its Series D financing round. Investors participating in the round include Citi Ventures, Rizvi Traverse Management, and Starbucks Coffee Company.
One year ago, Square had approximately 150 employees and processed over $1 billion in payments on an annualized basis. Today, Square has over 400 employees and is processing over $8 billion in payments on an annualized basis.
Square’s growing revenue and workforce precedes the company’s plans for international expansion later this year.”
Google has apparently acquired Nik Software, a German software developer which created Snapseed, one of the top iOS apps of 2011 which won the iPad App of the Year award in 2011 and amassed a user base of nearly 9 million users in less than a year. Besides iOS, Snapseed is also available for Mac and Windows, and an Android app is also in the works.
Vic Gundotra who is heading Google’s social efforts, posted on Google+:
“Welcome Nik Software!
Today I’m excited to welcome +Nik Software to the Google family! We want to help our users create photos they absolutely love, and in our experience Nik does this better than anyone. Check out the examples from some of the world’s greatest photographers, and you’ll see what I mean.
This week we also hit an important milestone–over 400,000,000 people have upgraded to Google+. It was only a year ago that we opened public sign-up, and we couldn’t have imagined that so many people would join in just 12 months. While Google+ is all about creating a better experience across Google, it’s also a destination. And here too, I’m happy to report that we have just crossed 100,000,000 monthly active users on Google+ (plus.google.com and mobile app).”
While Nik Software also creates a number of other popular apps, Snapseed is what drove the acquisition. With Snapseed, Google+ has a much better chance of competing with Facebook and Instagram in the mobile photo sharing space.
Google also announced that it now has more than 400 million users on Google+, with more than 100 million monthly active users.
via The Verge, Google+
Google has acquired VirusTotal, an online scanner to detect viruses, trojans and other malware. The terms of the acquisition or the amount hasn’t been revealed yet, but it isn’t likely to be much. Following the acquisition, VirusTotal will be able to leverage Google’s massive infrastructure to improve the quality of its service and scale up operations.
We aren’t sure how exactly Google plans to integrate VirusTotal’s online offering into its search feature. For now, VirusTotal has announced that it will continue to operate independently and maintain its existing partnerships.
Here’s the official press release by VirusTotal:
“Our goal is simple: to help keep you safe on the web. And we’ve worked hard to ensure that the services we offer continually improve. But as a small, resource-constrained company, that can sometimes be challenging. So we’re delighted that Google, a long-time partner, has acquired VirusTotal. This is great news for you, and bad news for malware generators, because:
The quality and power of our malware research tools will keep improving, most likely faster; and
Google’s infrastructure will ensure that our tools are always ready, right when you need them.
VirusTotal will continue to operate independently, maintaining our partnerships with other antivirus companies and security experts. This is an exciting step forward. Google has a long track record working to keep people safe online and we look forward to fighting the good fight together with them.”
eBay has acquired Svpply, a social shopping startup, to improve its chances in the online social shopping space. Svpply is a retail online curation platform which is similar to Pinterest, but focuses more on online commerce. It allows users to post and manage collections of pictures of stuff they’d like to buy. Svpply aims to provide an online windowshopping experience, and then translate that into actual sales.
Svpply apparently has close to 1.1 million products in its database, and adds nearly 3,000 products every day, covering more than 70,000 brands.
It seems to be a talent acquisition, and eBay will likely try to integrate Svpply into its own offering, and drive sales using its user base. While the acquisition amount hasn’t been revealed, it’s likely to be low.
eBay’s official statement:
“eBay Inc. has acquired Svpply.com, an innovative website that brings shoppers, tastemakers and merchants together onto a single site by offering a curated selection of stylish merchandise from across the Web. Users on Svpply.com recommend their style discoveries to other users, and display galleries of items they want or own.
With Svpply.com, eBay gains access to technology talent to further improve the shopping and selling experience for its customers. Svpply.com assets – including a talented team of six designers and developers – are well-suited to help eBay advance more personalized experiences and merchandising options on eBay.com.”
Workday is a cloud based enterprise software company which was founded by the founders of PeopleSoft after it was acquired by Oracle in 2005. It provides cloud based applications for enterprise functions like “human capital management (HCM), payroll, financial management, time tracking, procurement and employee expense management.”
In its S-1 filing, it states that:
“We achieved this leadership position [in the enterprise cloud space] through our innovative and adaptable technology, focus on the consumer Internet experience and cloud delivery model. Further, we believe we are the only company to provide this complete set of unified cloud-based applications to enterprises. Our applications are designed for global enterprises to manage complex and dynamic operating environments. We provide our customers highly adaptable, accessible and reliable applications to manage critical business functions that enable them to optimize their financial and human capital resources.”
WorkDay competes primarily with the likes of Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com and NetSuite, besides a number of other heavyweights in this space. It has more than 1450 employees, and reported close to $135 million in revenue in the year ended January 31, 2012. It posted a net loss, however, of $80 million. It ended July 31, 2012 with around $122 million in cash.
It plans to raise close to $400 million in the IPO, and we expect it to continue to make losses in the years following the IPO, as it operates in a very competitive environment, before eventually turning a profit.
You can check out the entire Workday S-1 filing here: Workday – SEC
The New York Times had apparently been trying to offload About.com and related properties for quite some time, and it seems to have done exactly that today. It has sold off About.com to IAC, the company which also owns Ask.com, Match.com, and Vimeo.
The sale price is rumored to be $300 million, which is significantly lower than the $410 million NYT paid for it in 2005. Bundled with About.com in the deal were other properties like CalorieCount.com and ConsumerSearch.com.
Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., Chairman, The New York Times Company, said:
“About.com has been a strong contributor to our company since its acquisition in 2005. About’s early expertise in search engine optimization, expert content and revenues from cost-per-click and display advertising made it a valuable component of our portfolio for the past seven years. This sale will allow the Times Company to focus on the development and growth of our core brands locally, nationally and on a global scale.”
This deal should be good for both NYT and IAC, as NYT can now focus on its core business, while IAC has a better shot at turning About.com around. It also gives a good cash infusion to NYT, which could help it out in these trying times.
AOL has been in the news lately only for two reasons. One, its lagging business and underperforming stock, and two, its recent patent sale to Microsoft, and eventually Facebook, which helped the latter stave off Yahoo’s patent assault on it.
AOL sold off most of its patents to Microsoft for $1.1 billion. Today, the sale has been completed, and AOL, true to its word, has announced that it will be giving the cash back to its shareholders.
It has announced a $600 million repurchase of AOL stock, and a one-time cash dividend of $5.15 per share, which adds up to nearly $480 million.
By returning cash to shareholders, AOL has bought itself some more time to get back in the game. However, that would be much more likely if it had reinvested all the cash in the business itself.
Tim Armstrong, AOL’s CEO, sent out a memo to his staff:
“Our first strategic goal is to build world-class brands that are meaningful businesses and we are going to continue to pursue that with alacrity. The second strategic goal has been to build a substantial financial foundation for our investors and more importantly, our investors’ investors. While we continue to successfully navigate AOL’s turn-around, we are also trying to build immediate value for all of our shareholders.
This morning, we announced the final steps in returning approximately all of the $1.1 billion proceeds from the patent deal with Microsoft to our shareholders by year-end. Specifically, we have begun a transaction with Barclays that is allowing us to pursue the repurchase of $600 million in AOL stock. We also announced a special one time cash dividend of $5.15 per share. The combination of the repurchase program and the special dividend is delivering what we had promised our investors and also allows us to give all shareholders the ability to own a bigger stake in AOL.”
IBM is one of the latest tech giants to have scooped up a company in the booming social enterprise software space. It has acquired Kenexa, a social human resources, talent acquisition and management software company, for $1.3 billion.
Kenexa’s software enables corporate customers to handle performance management, compensation, career development, leadership training and all such boring HR stuff with a social twist. Kenexa is one of the more formidable players in the enterprise cloud apps space led by Salesforce.com. IBM competes with the likes of Oracle and SAP, who are also trying desperately to gain a foothold in this market. Oracle recently acquired Taleo, while SAP acquired SuccessFactors in a bid to dominate the space.
Kenexa’s products are used by more than 9000 companies across industries, and will complement IBM’s existing offerings.
IBM’s official statement says:
“The acquisition bolsters IBM’s leadership in helping clients embrace social business capabilities while gaining actionable insights from the enormous streams of information generated from social networks every day.
Kenexa, a leading provider of recruiting and talent management solutions, brings a unique combination of Cloud-based technology and consulting services that integrates both people and processes, providing solutions to engage a smarter, more effective workforce across their most critical business functions.
Kenexa complements IBM’s strategy of bringing relevant data and expertise into the hands of business leaders within every functional department, from sales and marketing to product development and human resources. As a result of this synergy, clients will be able to attract and develop the right skills to build the right teams, for the right projects, the first time.”
Salesforce.com has announced its earnings for the second quarter of 2012 (Q2 FY13). It reported total revenue of $732 million, up 34% year-over-year, with subscription and support revenue growing to $687 million and professional services revenue increasing to $44 million. While the sales growth is impressive, it posted a net loss of $9.8 million, as sales and marketing expenses continued to balloon. Its deferred revenue grew faster than revenue, increasing 43% to $1.34 billion.
Its cash and cash equivalents stood at exactly $1 billion, while its short term marketable securities declined to $107 million by the end of the quarter. Its operating cash flow this quarter was around $136 million.
Salesforce.com’s Chairman and CEO, Marc Benioff said:
“Our second quarter revenue growth was outstanding at 34% in dollars and 37% in constant currency. Salesforce.com’s social enterprise strategy is enabling companies to connect with customers, partners, and employees in completely new ways – and it’s creating new opportunities for their growth and ours.”
It has raised its earnings outlook for the next quarter and the full year, but its stock is down nearly 5% as profits continue to elude the leader in the enterprise cloud software market.
via Salesforce – SEC