Yahoo’s New Board To Meet Next Week — Yahoo’s newly reconstituted board will meet for the first time next week, giving activist investor Carl Icahn his first chance at seeing the company workings from the inside, reports WSJ. The two other Icahn-supported board members, Frank Biondi and John Chapple, will also be there at the meeting this Tuesday. WSJ says it is not yet clear if Icahn will show up personally. At the meeting, the board members will get an update on the still-ongoing talks between Yahoo and Time Warner/AOL (NYSE: TWX), and a possible combination. For now any talks are on a slow burner. Also, for sure, the Google-Yahoo advertising partnership and potential regulatory issues will be discussed.
Facebook Plotting Beacon’s Full Return? Users Continue Rebellion Against Redesign — While the number of Facebook users that have signed up to protest the social net’s redesign represents only a fraction its 100 million members, the movement continues to gain attention. Over the past few months, dozens of groups have popped up on Facebook to voice displeasure at the changes. As USAT notes, one group has attracted 1 million members. The changes include separating members’ profile info into different areas of the site. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that he’s seen this kind of thing before—such as when the site first introduced the “news feed” feature two years ago. And it doesn’t appear as though the protests are going to lead to any mass defections. But one change that did quickly blow up in the social net’s face was last year’s Project Beacon ad program. A number of reports in the past week indicate that Facebook might be reviving Beacon.
Microsoft Rushes To Defend Display Ads; Now If Only Marketers Would, Too — As recent online ad spend reports have shown, the display business has been having a tough year—and this past week’s market shocks suggest it’s only going to get worse. Companies like AOL (NYSE: TWX), Yahoo and Microsoft have made big bets on display taking off, and the pain of display’s decline could become acute. Microsoft, for one, feels enough is enough, and is stepping up efforts to convince advertisers to consider display, WSJ reports. Microsoft says it can prove that display is a better motivator of consumer behavior than search. The company plans to present its data, which was compiled by its ad serving unit, Atlas Institute, to agencies in round of upcoming meetings. While Microsoft has a search ad business too, it is more dependent on display sales. That said, the company says that the Atlas’ research on display began two years ago, long before it bought the ad serving firm. While Microsoft hopes its numbers will convince advertisers, the company has been oddly silent about promoting it publicly and in detail.
China’s Focus Media To IPO Its Allyes Internet Ad Business; Valued At $1-$1.5 Billion? — Chinese advertising firm Focus Media is primarily engaged in the out-of-home market, but it does have a fast-growing, internet business that it acquired just last year for $300 million… And now the company plans to do a spinoff of the unit (Allyes Online Media Holdings) via an IPO. The company said in a release this morning that it would commence the IPO following an F-1 filing and “as market conditions permit”, which could be a while. The internet business at Focus is hot. In August the company said revenue grew 201 percent in the quarter, accounting for $76.1 million of the company’s total $211.7 million in revenue. Given this growth and the market’s longstanding love of all things Chinese internet, it’s no surprise that the company would want to take this business out from under the parent company’s umbrella.
Informa Bid Collapses; Consortium Could Not Raise More Cash — The leading bid for Lloyd’s List B2B publisher and Datamonitor operator Informa has been scuppered by the state of the financial markets. Providence, bidding with Blackstone and Carlyle, offered 450p per share (£1.9 billion), but the trio said they were unable to get financing to fund a higher offer. Informa will now be betting it can weather the economic storm – its shares closed 32 percent below the offer price yesterday at 342p. With so many other B2B outfits in play right now, it’s testing times. Reed Elsevier said in August its planned divestment of Reed Business Information could take place as early as October.
Sugar, Inc. Launches Blog Platform With Retail Rev Stream — An interesting move from Sugar Inc. following its mid-summer course correction with NBC Universal … the blog network opened its publishing platform to its readers today with OnSugar beta promising “sweet & simple publishing.” The concept: give users the tools to do what the Sugar pros do, increase engagement and add to revenue starting with retail links served up with the new blogs. CEO Brian Sugar said the move doesn’t preclude a Sugar ad network but this and other recent actions suggest that Sugar is still focused on realizing its own potential as a network.