Articles of the Day


Ad Industry Moves Analytics Toward Forecasting Demand — Publishers looking for a method to visualize their inventory and understand the constraints of selling to advertisers will soon have an application that theoretically forecasts availability and price. The application will officially become available in January through the start-up Yieldex, a San Mateo, Calif.-based Web-services company founded in 2007 that analyzes and predicts available online advertising inventory to help optimize campaigns. Three unnamed companies have been testing the platform for six weeks.  

Microsoft, Yahoo Said To Be Hammering Out $20 Billion Search Buyout; Denied — Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is working out a deal that would ultimately net it Yahoo’s search business for $20 billion, The Times Online reports, but has been denied outright by parties involved. If it turns out to be true, it would be complex deal with many moving parts: MSFT would initially only invest $5 billion, with the option to buy out the new unit for $20 billion after two years. Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) would continue to run its own email, messaging, display and content services businesses in the event of a buyout. Velocity Investment Group founders Jonathan Miller and Ross Levinsohn would likely lead the new search division; and they’d match MSFT’s funding with $5 billion from external investors. The new unit would end up with a 30 percent stake in Yahoo, and the external investors would have the right to appoint three of Yahoo’s 11 board directors. Senior execs at both MSFT and Yahoo have reportedly agreed on some of the terms, but the deal hasn’t been finalized—and may not be approved at all, The Times’ sources say. Now would be an opportune time to hammer out the details: Yahoo’s stock has been battered and the company is essentially functioning sans executive leadership since Jerry Yang stepped down as CEO two weeks ago.  

Icahn Increases Yahoo Holdings By Nearly 7 Million Shares — Apparently no one told Carl Icahn this was supposed to be a slow news day … the Yahoo director added nearly 7 million shares to his holdings in the company this week at an almost bargain-basement cost of roughly $67 million. According to a filing with the SEC Wednesday, various Icahn entities acquired 3,697,181 shares at $9.7988 per share Monday, 2,704,780 shares at $9.9678 Tuesday, and another 376,843 shares at $9.9988 Wednesday. That brings his total stake in Yahoo to 75.6 million shares. This last batch averaged well below one-third of the $34.75 per share Icahn suggested Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) pay for Yahoo back in June.

Lycos Europe To Shut Down After Failing To Find Buyer — It’s the end of the road. After putting itself on the auction block in April, Lycos Europe has finally conceded what had become increasingly clear – no one wants to buy the ailing portal. It confirmed Wednesday morning it will wind up its portal and its web-hosting activities. It’s now about asset stripping – the company said it still wants to sell its domain names, its Danish business and its shopping sites. As a result, Lycos Europe will give back $60 million (€50 million) to its shareholders. All subject to a December 12
shareholders meeting. As the Web 2.0 fraternity might say, “epic fail”. 

Mobile Internet Use Surges In U.K. — Mobile internet use in the United Kingdom is growing while the number of people going online via a PC is slowing, analyst firm Nielsen Online has found. Some 7.3 million people accessed the net via their mobile phones, during the second and third
quarters of 2008. This is an increase of 25% compared to a growth of just 3% for the PC-based net audience — now more than 35 million. The survey also found that the mobile net audience was younger and searched for different things. While Google remains the most popular site for those logging on via the desktop in the U.K., on mobile internet BBC News is the most visited site, with nearly a quarter of mobile internet consumers using it. Other popular sites include BBC Weather and Sky Sports.

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