Archive for the News Category

Financial Definitions for the New Millenium

Posted in Investment Banking, News on April 18, 2009 by Dave Liu

CEO- Chief Embezzlement Officer

CFO – Corporate Fraud Officer

BULL MARKET- A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius

BEAR MARKET- a 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex.

VALUE INVESTING- The art of buying low and selling lower.

P/E RATIO- The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing.

BROKER – What my financial planner has made me.

STANDARD & POOR- Your life in a nut shell.

STOCK ANALYST- Idiot who just downgraded your stock.

STOCK SPLIT- When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves.

MARKET CORRECTION- The day after you buy stocks.

CASH FLOW- The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet.

INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR- Past year investor who’s now locked up in a nuthouse.

PROFIT – an archaic word no longer in use.

Consequences of the Economic Crisis

Posted in Media, News with tags on January 22, 2009 by Dave Liu

Re-branding Logos after the Crisis:

Digital Media M&A

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2009 by Dave Liu

Huffington Post Acquires Comedy News Site 236.com From IAC — Huffington Post is wasting little time in putting last month’s $25 million funding to work: as expected, the company says it’s buying comedy news site 236.com. The comedy site was created in Nov. 2007 as part of a joint venture between Huffington Post and IAC (NSDQ: IACI). Now, after a year as a standalone, 236.com will be integrated into Huffington Post as a vertical channel. The purchase represents Huffington Post’s recognition that it needs to expand its offerings beyond straight commentary, now that the presidential campaign is over and traffic and advertising are expected to fall off. 236.com claims roughly 2 million unique users a month, which is a drop compared to HuffPo’s 16 million monthly uniques.

TheKnot Expands Social Net Offerings To New Moms, Acquires Breastfeeding.com — Wedding planning and content site The Knot has acquired a community site aimed at new mothers called Breastfeeding.com. Terms weren’t disclosed. The addition of Breastfeeding.com to The Knot follows a few other acquisitions of the past year that are designed to expand the company’s purview beyond nuptials and into what often comes after. In particular, The Knot has been focusing on pregnancy sites, such as the purchase of TheBump.com for $1.4 million last February, as well as parents community TheNestBaby.com and general parenting site Lilaguide.com, which were added in 2007.

Online Marketing Firm Theorem Acquires Interactive Designer Webpencil — In the latest in a series of deals in the online-marketing space over the past two days, Theorem has acquired Webpencil, an interactive ad design firm, for an undisclosed sum. N.J.-based Theorem offers campaign management and analytics services for search, display and email ads, and the addition of Webpencil gives the firm a creative arm with rich-media experience. Las Vegas-based Webpencil’s client roster has included the Obama campaign and CareerBuilder, and founders David and Cheryl Rosowsky will remain with the company in their current roles. The other recent activity in online marketing includes new funding for Goodmail, Yodle, Go Internet Media and avVenta.

Donnerwood Media Merges Meez Brand With Pulse Entertainment; Gets New Funding, CEO — Several big changes at avatar-based social-networking service Meez … The company is merging with Pulse Entertainment, a mobile entertainment platform also built around avatars. Meez’ service is primarily Web- and IM-based, with brand sponsorship of virtual goods like clothing and accessories for the avatars, while carriers like AT&T and Verizon Wireless offer subscribers Pulse’s animated messages. Both companies are based in San Francisco, and the new joined entity will use the name Meez.

Articles of the Week

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2009 by Dave Liu

AOL’s Web Strategy Refined Yet Again With MediaGlow — AOL is tweaking its website strategy yet again. As the company struggles with the slowdown in display ad activity, it is giving its web publishing unit a formal name, called MediaGlow. AOL’s Bill Wilson will go from EVP of programming to president of the new unit, which will oversee programming’s 75 sites, NYT reports. AOL plans to create 30 more sites this year. The formation of MediaGlow is meant to move AOL away from being a portal, as opposed to a publisher with niche sites, like “edgy” younger men’s site Asylum and its female counterpart Lemondrop.com, something it’s been working towards for over a year.

Hearst Says Seattle P-I Will Either Be Sold, Close Or Go Web-Only — Following yesterday’s leak to a local TV station that Hearst Corp. was planning to sell or close the Seattle Post Intelligencer, the parent company has confirmed that it is seeking a buyer for the daily, the paper itself reported. The unidentified source who tipped off KING-TV yesterday about Hearst’s plans told the station that the company is pessimistic about finding a buyer in this dismal environment. Publicly, Hearst sees three possibilities for the Seattle P-I, which is one of only two of the city’s daily papers: it will either be sold, turned into a web-only publication or shuttered.

CBS Interactive’s TV.Com Relaunches With Video From Showtime, Sony, Endemol And More — A follow-up to the TV.com relaunch we first reported last month… the CBS Interactive (NYSE: CBS) site, which already sports its new front-page look, is expanding its video catalog with content from Endemol, Sony (NYSE: SNE) Pictures TV, MGM, PBS, and sibling Showtime. TV.com is trying to tilt its image from a community site about television to a video destination. “The thought is to weave in this entertainment into the overall community experience,” explains Anthony Soohoo, SVP and GM of CBS Interactive Entertainment and Lifestyle. “We want to use it more as a starter, a fuel to start the conversation versus letting it be so overbearing that it overtakes the rest of the community.”

Yahoo TV Effort Comes At The Right Time — At the Consumer Electronics Show, Yahoo unveiled a range of new televisions and other devices loaded with software developed with chipmaker Intel Corp. that allows users to call up Web pages and tools for use while watching TV. BusinessWeek notes that past attempts to marry the Web and TV have fizzled badly, but some analysts claim that Yahoo’s efforts come at the right time, because consumers are finally ready to enjoy a range of media from a single device. Apple’s iPhone, which users use to surf the Web as well as to make phone calls and text messages, is the perfect example. “This is a very intelligent chance Yahoo is taking,” says Mukul Krishna, global director of digital media at research firm Frost & Sullivan. “Google and Microsoft will be looking at this very closely.”

Report: Google Shows 58% More Ads, Could Report Record Quarter — A major source of frustration for financial analysts covering Google is the fact that the search giant issues no forward-looking guidance. As a result, analysts’ expectations for the stock can vary widely. The gigantic question mark in the company’s recent fourth quarter performance is whether demand for search advertising increased, and by how much. According to data from AdGooroo, a Chicago-based search research firm, Google led its competitors during the fourth quarter with 58% growth in the average number of ads it showed per keyword on the first search results page (4.01 keywords in Q4 vs. 2.54 in Q3). In December 2007, Google actually ran 4.84 ads per keyword, but since then, the company has made a concerted effort to improve the quality of the ads it shows. The result has been far fewer first page ads per keyword in 2008, though these are ostensibly of a higher quality. Looks like Google may have decided to return to showing more ads per keyword in light of the recession.

Major Shake-up At Sling Media: Krikorian Brothers, Hirschhorn, White, Wilkes Leaving — Little more than a year after Sling Media’s sale to EchoStar (NSDQ: SATS), the co-founders and the top team at Sling Entertainment are leaving the company, paidContent.org has learned. The news is being broken to staff in meetings going on now. Departing are brothers Blake and Jason Krikorian, respectively CEO and SVP-business development, and Jason Hirschhorn and Ben White, president and chief creative officer of the Sling Media Entertainment Group. The senior executives agreed to stay in place for at least a year following the acquisition, which was valued at $380 million, but we’ve been expecting one or more to leave—especially given the entrepreneurial bent. The move comes after a burst of good publicity about the new Sling DVR, iPhone app and
back-to-back best of shows at CES and Macworld.

M&A Report: ‘08 Interactive Ad Deals Down 29 Percent — Now that 2008’s finally closed out, we get a better read on the state of the market in terms of M&A—and Petsky Prunier’s latest Deal Notes report (via ClickZ) shows that the interactive advertising space was hit pretty hard: transactions were down 29 percent from 2007, and investors spent about five times less in 2008 than they did in 2007. Of course, 2007 was the year of the ad network/exchange feeding frenzy: Google (NSDQ: GOOG) bought DoubleClick for $3.1 billion, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) acquired aQuantive for $6 billion and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) paid $680 million for Right Media—so those deals and the economic implosion skewed the results. Still the numbers are worth a look: Deals down sequentially and year-over-year in Q4 : There were 31 deals worth about $436 million in the interactive ad space in Q408—down 18 percent in terms of volume from Q3, and 29 percent in terms of money spent. Year-over-year the stats were worse: transaction volume was down 55 percent from Q407, and dollar value was down 77 percent. Overseas interactive agencies were a big draw : Interactive agency deals dominated the M&A activity in Q4, with eight deals worth a total of about $83 million. Interestingly, big ad holding companies focused on shoring up their digital practices overseas: Aegis Group acquired Malaysia-based shop IF, Publicis picked up Brazil-based Tribal, and Microsoft’s Razorfish’s gobbled up Spanish shop WYSIWYG.

Google’s Russian Fortunes: May Lose Ally, Snubbed By Firefox — In the fast-growing Russian internet scene, one of the big three portals, Rambler, could be about to lose its CEO, after dropping market share and seeing the sale of its advertising unit to Google (NSDQ: GOOG) fail. Mark Opzumerom won’t renew his contract, which ends in March, after Rambler.ru’s share of Runet’s search market fell from 14.9 percent last year to just 6.4 percent, business paper Vedomosti says (via Yakov). Rambler had agreed to sell its Begun contextual advertising platform to Google for $140 million in a summer deal that would also have seen Google replace Rambler’s own on-site search box. But the acquisition was curiously blocked in October by Russian antitrust authorities, arguing Google had not supplied the necessary paperwork. Google has already moved on and is testing the provision of search to leading social net Odnoklassniki. An exit for Opzumerom may suggest the Begun-Google deal may not be revisited.

Yahoo’s Board Picks Carol Bartz For CEO — It’s official: Carol Bartz as CEO is in and Sue Decker is out. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Carol Bartz has been picked by Yahoo’s board of directors to succeed Jerry Yang as CEO and that she has accepted the job. Bartz, executive chairman and former CEO of Autodesk, first emerged as a candidate last week, some two months into the search. A Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) spokesman said he could not comment on whether an announcement is due today. Update: Bartz wasn’t on anyone’s public short list last November when Yahoo cofounder and CEO Jerry Yang, who was under pressure from the minute he took the post from former chairman and CEO Terry Semel, announced his decision to step down. The last time Yahoo plucked a CEO from the outside, the board went with seasoned entertainment vet Semel—a sign of its interest in media and entertainment, This time, the choice seems to be a Silicon Valley insider but it may not signal anything more than a belief that she has the right management experience, public company background and style mixed with industry know-how to steer a very troubled company that should be more successful than it is. Yahoo does a lot of things right but none of that matters as long as the image is of a company that is flailing.

Microsoft Gains Searches, Yahoo Acquisition On Horizon? — AdGooroo’s Q4 Search Engine Advertising Update, released Tuesday, points to major gains for Google and Microsoft–including 58.0% and 42.3% growth in advertisers, respectively. Yahoo trailed with 8.8%. “Microsoft has begun to close the
gap in advertising share with Yahoo, but based on the previous quarter’s numbers I would have expected that to take longer,” said Rich Stokes, AdGooroo founder.

Harvard Prof: Deceptive Ads ‘Rampant’ On Yahoo’s Right Media — Yahoo’s Right Media automated ad network allows “deceptive” banner ads to “run rampant through its system,” according to a new report by Harvard Business School’s Ben Edelman. Edelman estimates that as many of 35% of the ads shown through Right Media are deceptive. Right Media, which offers an automated auction platform for advertisers and publishers, said in a statement that it has “rigorous platform standards and guidelines” and doesn’t allow its system to be used in a “misleading, deceptive or illegal manner.

Euro VC House Balderton Targets Downturn Innovation With $430 Million New Fund — Fresh from making $140 million from the sale of Bebo and a “substantial return” on the sale of MySQL, Balderton Capital is announcing a new $430 million (£285 million) tech and media fund to capitalise on promising business plans thrown up in the downturn – proving that VCs really mean it when they say money is still available for good ideas. Though private equity is finding it harder to raise money from banks, Balderton – which was Benchmark’s European arm but span out in 2007 – assembled most of its new fund from investors in just two months, general manager Barry Maloney told FT.com: “We are about to enter a very interesting time for new investments, if not for exits. Part of the reason for raising this fund now is to take advantage of the opportunities that this stage of the cycle throws up.” Innovation gets another spurt in times like these, many investors say, explaining that Web 2.0 came off the back of the dot.com crash. VC money isn’t going away – Accel unveiled a $525 million new London fund last month.

Epperson Out At Havas Digital, CEO Role Split Across London, Madrid — In a move that centralizes more of the power for its digital media operations on the European continent, Paris-based Havas is restructuring the top management team of Havas Digital, following the departure of its Boston-based CEO Don Epperson on Jan. 31. Epperson, an entrepreneur with a deep background in finance and technology, joined Havas in 2001 when it acquired HookMedia, an early Boston-based digital shop he founded in 1998, and which became the backbone of Havas Digital’s operations.

Google Shuts Down Google Video Uploads, Notebook, Dodgeball, Jaiku, Mashup Editor — The day of the long knives at Google (NSDQ: GOOG) when it comes to products. In a burst of blog posts late Wednesday, the company announced the closure or impending closing of a batch of products, some more widely available than others: Google Notebook, Dodgeball, Google Catalog Search, microblogging servie Jaiku, and the Google Mashup Editor. You could call it thinning the herd as Google looks for ways to cut back ever so slightly on
engineering and to divert resources to projects that may have a chance or making money or could be more powerful when it comes to the same functions. Google is also halting uploads to Google Video, directing users instead to YouTube and Picasa.

Blockbuster To Bring Video To PCs And Mobile Devices In Q2 — In what is being considered a defensive move against Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), Blockbuster (NYSE: BBI) said today it is going to start offering thousands of films and other titles to a number of devices as soon as the second quarter. The devices range from PCs and Macs to media players, Blu-ray Disc players, set-top boxes and mobile phones, Reuters reports. Users will be able to download or stream the movies on an ala carte basis, which will allow Blockbuster to offer newer movies than Netflix, which is frequently criticized for having out-of-date titles. Blockbuster may also consider
subscription services in the future.

Google, SpotMixer Launch Self-Service Video Ads — Google and One True Media–the parent company of online video ad creator SpotMixer–today are expected to publicly launch a self-serve video ad creation service for Google AdWords customers to produce and distribute cable television ads via Google TV Ads. Neither partner company would discuss the financial details of the new deal, One True Media CEO John Love did say there is more to it than just exposure for SpotMixer.

AOL Sports Becomes FanHouse — AOL Sports is rebranding as FanHouse, adopting the name of its popular blog for the entire sports site. The move follows on the heels of AOL’s creation of a new publishing unit called
MediaGlow that will launch more than 30 new sites by year’s end. Besides a redesign, FanHouse will feature expand coverage including on-site coverage of major sporting events, improved scoreboards, more video and RSS feeds from top sports writers. Over the next year, the site aimed at males aged 18 to 54, will also launch specialized sports properties including a mixed martial arts site.

Yahoo CEO Says She Will Spend A Lot Of Time looking At Selling Search Business, But ‘Gut’ Says Not To Sell — Yahoo, the Sunnyvale, California Internet company’s new Chief Executive plans to devote time looking at selling its search business, reported the Wall Street Journal. The article, citing people familiar with comments the new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz made during a company-wide meeting Wednesday, reported Bartz said she plans to spend a lot of time looking into selling the unit but that her “gut” was to not sell the unit. Bartz also said she spoke with Steve Ballmer, the Chief Executive of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), the Redmond, Washington software company, after taking the job at Yahoo. The report noted that Yahoo’s board of directors isn’t pushing for a quick deal. Source: mergermarket.

How Heavily Will The Recession Weigh On Tech? — The Economist : The news from technology bellwethers like Microsoft, IBM, Motorola and Intel has been awful of late. According to several blogs, Microsoft and IBM are preparing to get rid of 16,000 employees each, or 17% and 4% of their workforces each. This may or may not be true, but The Economist says the news is telling nonetheless, as the cuts would be the biggest in
information technology history. Meanwhile, Motorola earlier this week said it was cutting 4,000 jobs, and Intel on Thursday reported that fourth quarter profit absolutely fell off a cliff, plummeting 90%. These are the signs of the industry’s current plight, The Economist says, adding: “Hardly a day passes without reports of collapsing revenues and workers being laid off.” So, is the tech industry headed for a worse downturn than the one
that followed the dotcom crash?

BrightRoll: Video Ad Rates Fell 25% In Q4 — Average pre-roll ad rates for online video in the fourth quarter dropped 25% from the year-earlier period and 12.5% from the prior quarter, according to video ad network BrightRoll. Pre-roll rates on average were down 14.2% in 2008 from 2007. BrightRoll, whose network spans hundreds of sites, declined to provide actual average CPM figures for business reasons. But average online video CPMs are generally estimated to run from $20 to $25.

Social Nets Threaten Ad Agency Growth — Advertising agencies are not prepared for the changes that will come as a result of new forms of media such as social networks, a new study claims. The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s “Social Media Futures” report warns that ad agencies face growth of just 1.2% per year by 2016 if they fail to tackle the changes prompted by the emergence of social networking. Recommendations from friends are obviously more influential than traditional forms of advertising. Because social networks enable consumers to pass on information about products and services, advertisers need to be able to take advantage of that trend. A good example of this is the Cadbury “Gorilla” spot, which has been viewed on YouTube more than 10 million times, or Dove’s famous “Campaign for real beauty,” which can also be seen on YouTube and other online video sites.

Blockbuster Dumps Movielink Tech After A Few Months; Goes With Cinemanow Instead — Blockbuster’s so-called plans have been changing in real time these days, it seems, as the world changes in real time as well: We pointed out yesterday Blockbuster’s continuing vaporware plans for online and mobile video. What was lost in the shuffle was the fact that the rental chain has dropped the technology behind Movielink, the online video service it bought in 2007 for a firesale price of $6.6 million (after $148 million was invested in it over the years), and will now go with one-time rival Cinemanow’s technology for its new online movie service, to be launched in Q2 this year. It had been integrating the Movielink service with Blockbuster.com for a few months now, but after testing it out in closed beta, it is now dumping the tech part, even though the content deals remain
in place, as Variety points out.

eBay Founder Omidyar Launching New Startup Ginx, A Twitter-Based Sharing Tool — After starting eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) in 1995, he’s spent the last fewyears investing in new sites like Digg, Goodmail and Meetup.com. Now the auction site’s chairman Pierre Omidyar is back in the startup saddle. PEHub found an SEC filing listing Omidyar as an executive of secretive new Honolulu-based outfit Ginx, prompting speculation last night as to the business model. So the company has now issued a release confirming Ginx is being created by Peer News, co-founded by Omidyar and eBay’s former classified ads VP Randy Ching: “Ginx is a Twitter client that aims to provide Twitter users with a rich experience for sharing and discussing links. Ginx was created to enable people to become more actively engaged in the news and topics they care about.”

Digital Media VC

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2009 by Dave Liu

Yodle Raised $10 Million In Series C — New York-based provider of local online advertising and lead generation, has raised $10 million in Series C funding. JAFCO Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Bessemer Venture Partners.

SocialVibe Raised $8 Million In Series B — Los Angeles-based social media monetization platform, has raised $8 million in Series B funding. JAFCO Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backer Redpoint Ventures.

SimpleTuition Raised $6 Million In Series C — Newton, Mass.-based online student loan comparison site, has raised $6 million in Series C funding, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include Atlas Ventures, Flybridge Venture Capital and North Hill Ventures.

RevaHealth.com Raised Euro1.25 Million — Dublin, Ireland-based provider of a global health clinic search engine, has raised €1.25 million in new VC funding. Existing backer Mianach Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by Enterprise Ireland.

Go Internet Media Raised $10 Million In Series A — Santa Clara, Calif.-based online advertising network focused on consumer acquisition services, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Kennet Partners.

NewsGator Technologies Raised $10 Million In Series E — Denver-based provider of content aggregation tools and services, has raised $10 million in additional Series E funding. Return backers include Masthead Venture Partners, Mobius Venture Capital and Vista Ventures.

United Sample Raised $3 Million In Series B — Encino, Calif.-based provider of online sample solutions for the market research industry, has raised $3 million in Series B funding. Greycroft Partners led the round, and was joined by return backer DFJ Frontier.

Schoolwires Raised $12 Million In First Round — State College, Penn.-based provider of online portals and content management solutions for K-12 schools, has raised $12 million in its first round of institutional funding. Kennet Partners led the round, with Kennet principal Eric Filipek joining the company’s board of directors.

Motionbox Raised $6 Million In Series C — New York-based personal video sharing and storage site, has raised $6 million in Series C funding. Constellation Ventures led the round, and was joined by fellow return backers Canaan Partners and SAS Investors.

Meez Raised Undisclosed Amount Of VC Funding — San Francisco-based social entertainment community, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding led by Anthem Venture Partners. The company also acquired Pulse Entertainment Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of avatar messaging services for mobile phones and websites. Meez had previously raised VC funding from Battery Ventures and Transcosmos, while Pulse had raised over $50 million from firms like Anthem, DFJ, El Dorado Ventures, Encore Venture Partners and Mobius Venture Capital.

ServiceChannel.com Raised Undisclosed Amount Of Series B — Albertson, N.Y.-based provider of online tools for contractors to collaborate with facilities managers, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding led by SJF Ventures.

Kewego Raised $6.2 Million In Funding — Internet video company based in Paris, raised $6.2 million (4.7 million Euros) from Banexi Venture Partners and CDC Entreprises.

Digital Media VC

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2009 by Dave Liu

Superfish Raised $5.3 Million In Series B — Visual search engine startupwith offices in Israel and Silicon Valley, has raised $5.3 million in
Series B funding, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include DFJ Tamir Fishman Ventures, The Individuals’ Venture Fund and Xenia Venture Capital. Board members include Andreas Stavropoulos of DFJ.

Play Hard Sports Raised $8 Million In Series B — Foxboro, Mass.-based provider of sports-focused MMO games, has raised $8 million in Series B funding, according to a regulatory filing. Return backer New Enterprise Associates participated, alongside an outside lead. The company is run by former Turbine CEO Jeffrey Anderson, and had previously raised a $5 million Series A round. http://www.playhard.net

Major League Gaming Raised $7.5 Million — New York-based professional video game league, has raised $7.5 million in follow-on funding from Oak Investment Partners. It had previously raised $25 million.

JibJab Raised $7.5 Million In Series C — Venice, Calif.–based provider of digital greetings and online entertainment, has raised $7.5 million in Series C funding. Overbrook Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment joined return backer Polaris Venture Partners. The company had previously raised around $10 million.

Digital Entertainment Corp. of America Raised $10 Million In Series B — Rustic Canyon was joined by return backers Atomico, General Catalyst Partners and Mayfield. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company was founded to actively identify, develop, finance, market, and distribute interactive entertainment concepts and properties across the Internet. http://www.deca.tv

Digital Media M&A

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , on January 10, 2009 by Dave Liu

Ziff Davis Gets Out Of The Game: Sells 1UP To Hearst, Shutters EGM Mag To Focus On PCMag Network — Looking to conserve its resources for its PC Mag Digital business, Ziff Davis Media has sold off the 1UP Digital Network, its collection of video game sites, to Hearst Corp., which will fold it into the UGO Entertainment division. In conjunction with the sale, the related print mag Electronic Gaming Monthly will publish its last issue this month.