Archive for LinkedIn

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by Dave Liu

Velocity’s Miller Out Of The Running For Top Yahoo Job Or Takeover — Velocity Interactive Group’s Jon Miller is not trying to acquire Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), nor is he a candidate to replace Jerry Yang as CEO, Bloomberg reports, citing unidentified sources. Miller declined to comment on either point in an interview with Bloomberg. Earlier this month, activist investor and Yahoo director Carl Icahn said he had talked to Miller about plans that the former AOL (NYSE: TWX) CEO was raising money for an acquisition of Yahoo either in whole or in parts. Icahn said he told Miller that this was not a good time for any sale, as he felt Yahoo’s stock, which was trading around $11.35 at the time—as of yesterday, it was up to $13.36—remains undervalued.

No Surprise: VCs Say It Will Be Tough To Get Early Stage Funding In 2009 — If the credit crisis and Wall Street implosion haven’t made it obvious, take it from the VCs themselves: expect fewer startups to get off the ground next year. According to stats from the third National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) Predictions Survey, VC firms won’t have much extra time or money to invest in newer companies in 2009: 60 percent of respondents said there will be fewer seed rounds and 64 percent said there will be a decline in early stage funding next year. On the bright side, about half of the VCs surveyed said late stage funding would actually rise. More after the jump. Internet, media and entertainment to be hit: 58 percent of VCs expect investment in web-based companies to decline, while 71 percent said that the media and entertainment space would receive much less funding next year.

Thomson Reuters Plans To Issue Up To $3 Billion In Debt –This is probably not the best time to ask for more credit, but Thomson Reuters (NASDAQ: TRIN) is planning to issue up to $3 billion in debt over the next two years, Reuters reports, citing regulatory filings. The media company says the debt issuance would go towards supporting general business functions. It said that specific terms for the debt issuance would be provided at a later date.

LinkedIn Founder Hoffman Back As CEO; Yahoo’s Weiner Is Interim President — In a major executive shuffle, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman is reclaiming his role as CEO and bringing former Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Jeff Weiner in as interim president, per the LAT. Dan Nye, who’s held the CEO post since Hoffman recruited him for the gig in early 2007, did not reveal what his plans would be once he left the company in January. Nye’s departure comes somewhat out of left field (though the LAT says he’d been discussing it with Hoffman for months), as LinkedIn has flourished under his leadership. The professional social network raised more than $70 million in funding in 2008, including $22.7 million from investors including McGraw-Hill two months ago, and a mammoth $53 million round led by Bain Capital Ventures in June, lifting its valuation past the $1 billion mark.

Meebo To Launch Syndicated IM Service — Web-based chat and IM company Meebo next month plans to launch a syndicated IM service in conjunction with about 35 partners, including movie site Flixster, Web media company Sugar Inc., and social discovery company Tagged. “The service allows users to log into all of their networks at the same time,” Meebo chief revenue officer Carter Brokaw said at an industry summit on Wednesday.

ShopAtHome.com Sees Interest From Financial And Strategic Players, But Prefers To Remain Independent, President Say — ShopAtHome.com, (aka Belcaro Group), is on the radar of financial and strategic players, but it prefers to remain independent, said Marc Braunstein, president and co-founder. The Greenwood Village, Colorado-based direct response company receives numerous calls from such players and is “certainly a target” he said, but the preference for the company is not to forego its independence at this time. He added that the company is not looking for external funding. It has “low eight figures in sales.” Belcaro Group, founded more than twenty years ago, is owned by Braunstein and his wife, Claudia. The company banks with Citywide Banks and uses DLA Piper as its legal counsel. ShopAtHome.com provides consumers with online access to coupons, cash back rebates, and catalogs, which is a small piece of the business right now, he said. Retailers pay ShopAtHome.com to access its members. Over the years, the company has had in excess of 10m members, and attracts 100,000 to 150,000 new members a month, noted Braunstein. Source: mergermarket.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2008 by Dave Liu

LinkedIn CEO: Everything’s Rosy Here — The San Francisco Chronicle sits down with LinkedIn CEO Dan Nye to discuss the professional social network’s fortunes in 2008. At last count, LinkedIn was the fourth largest social networking site, behind MySpace, Facebook and Classmates.com. It is also the fourth fastest growing social network, according to the Chronicle report, behind Twitter, Tagged.com and Ning, with membership of 30 million. The private company is expected to rake in $100 million in ad revenue in 2008, up from $10 million at the end of 2006. In June, LinkedIn raised new capital valuing the firm at $1 billion. “What’s most gratifying is seeing the success that people are having on the network,” Nye says in a lengthy interview. “There are just amazing stories about people making money, finding opportunities, getting advice, avoiding disasters from reference checking, reconnecting with important people in their lives, getting introductions, getting access.”

Collective Media Debuts Performance-Based Network — As if direct marketers needed another ad network to choose from, ad network and technology provider Collective Media today is expected to unveil its own performance-based ad network–Directive Network. The company’s CEO, Joe Apprendi, however, is confident that the new Directive Network will stand out among the more than 200 such networks saturating the market today.

Google Debuts Display Ad Builder Features — The upgrades, based on user feedback, aim to provide greater customization and make building display ads easier. The image picker feature lets users choose from previously uploaded images when creating ads. Real-time editing lets users see text and other custom edits without having to click the “update preview” button. 

Microsoft To Rebrand Live Search — Microsoft is once again rebranding its search engine, TechCrunch says, citing a Microsoft source. The software giant plans to rename Windows Live Search sometime early next year, and “Kumo”, a Japanese word meaning “cloud” or “spider” is apparently the frontrunner, according to the blog LiveSide. Microsoft recently purchased the Kumo.com domain name. According to TechCrunch, very few people inside Microsoft are privy to the pending change, and “Kumo” has not been confirmed, although a source claims that a final decision about the new name has been made.  

Job Sites Step Up As Unemployment Hits 14-Year High — Unemployment in the U.S. has hit a 14-year high as companies cut back. That has sent masses of laid-off workers flocking to the Web in search of opportunities — and job sites have been stepping up to meet the challenge. New job sites with names like MarketVendorJobs.com have sprung up to take advantage of growing user interest amid the economic downturn. Established sites, such as CareerBuilder.com, have also started rolling out new features to improve the relevance of job listings for candidates and make their résumés stand out, among other things. And some sites, such as Vault.com, are providing career counseling and other new services.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by Dave Liu

Acquisition Talks Between Facebook And Twitter Break Down — So, Twitter still believes it can figure out how to generate some revenues. Kara Swisher is reporting that the rumors about Facebook acquiring Twitter were not only true, but that talks between the microblogging company and the social-network site broke down three weeks ago. The social net was offering to acquire the company for $500 million of its stock, but Twitter execs and investors apparently believe the company should “take a shot” at building revenues “as well as it [has] done building its growth” and not just jump at the first chance it gets to sell the business. Of course, there was also the matter of price—or, in this case, is half-a-billion dollars worth of Facebook stock really worth half-a-billion dollars? Facebook was pricing the transaction based on its own $15 billion valuation following Microsoft’s investment in it. But Twitter believed a more accurate valuation was $5 billion, making the deal worth $150 million.  

Random House To Double Size Of Its Digital Book Catalog — With consumers pulling back on in-store book purchases lately, Random House may be picking a good time to ramp up its ebooks offering. The publisher is expected to increase the number of ebook titles it has to 15,000 from the current 8,000, the LAT reports. Although ebooks represent just 1 percent of total book sales, that could change as both publishers and consumers adjust their habits in the current economic climate. Wider adoption of e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle could help too, although the dismal financial picture could depress growth there as well. Matt Shatz, Random House’s VP for digital operations, is crediting the Kindle with driving ebook sales’ growth by triple-digit percentages this year. He declined to offer the LAT any specific figures, indicating that the revenues and sales units are still comparatively small. 

Xing CEO Logs Out, Replacement Coming From eBay — LinkedIn rival Xing’s founder and CEO Lars Hinrichs has stepped down from the post to concentrate on “new entrepreneurial challenges”, and is being replaced by Dr. Stefan Gross-Selbeck, eBay’s general manager for Germany. But Hinrichs remains on the company’s board and remains its largest shareholder, he confirmed on his blog. No further info given behind the CEO swap. Under Hinrichs, Xing has tried to scale up to fight LinkedIn by buying smaller, country-specific European business networks – its acquisitions in Spain and Turkey totalling EUR 14 million ($17.6 million). On its home ground in Europe, it’s beating LinkedIn.  

Social Networking Services Growing, Advertising Not So Much — The use of social networking sites will continue to grow, but advertising will not necessarily expand along with it, according to market research firm IDC. Framingham, Mass.-based IDC says in a new study that social networks will face slow ad sales until they can get users to do more than just keep up with friends. That’s because members of social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo tend to click on ads less than the U.S. Internet users overall.  

AdBrite Launches CPC Auction For Banner Ads — Marking a significant departure from traditional CPM-based advertising, ad exchange AdBrite has launched a cost-per-click auction for graphical banner ads. When direct-response advertisers pay on a CPM or per- impression basis, they assume the full risk of impressions that may never convert into clicks or sales. AdBrite advertisers can now pay for graphical banner advertising in the same way they pay for search placements and text ads–paying only when their ad is clicked.  

EMarketer Revises ’09 Forecast Down Again — In yet another sign that “the industry needs to completely rethink display ads,” eMarketer has revised its online advertising outlook for 2009 down again, cutting its forecast to $25.7 billion, from $28.4 billion. Six months ago, the online industry research aggregator forecast that online spending would total $30 billion. That figure has now been cut twice. Meanwhile, Google should remain the biggest beneficiary of the 9% growth projected for 2009, down from 11% growth in 2008, as its search advertising system is widely believed to drive sales and conversions for marketers. In fact, eMarketer actually raised its search advertising estimate for next year to $12.3 billion next, up from its August estimate of $11.9 billion.  

Google To Lay Off 10,000 — Google is reportedly preparing to lay off as many as 10,000 workers, according to sources at the blog Web Guild.
Hundreds of employees have already been laid off and there are reports that about 500 of them were recruiters for the search giant. In fact, this is
one of the reasons the company was able to meet Wall Street’s Q3 expectations, Web Guild claims. Google has clearly managed to get around
the SEC’s requirement that it publicly disclose layoffs by classifying close to 30% of its workforce as contract workers. According to SEC
documents, Google has 20,123 employees, but Web Guild claims the actual number is closer to 30,000. Many of these workers will be getting the boot. As Google co-founder Sergey Brin said, “There is no question that the number (of workers) is too high.”

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2008 by Dave Liu

LinkedIn Debuts B2B Network — Seeking new revenue streams, professional-focused social network LinkedIn today is expected to debut a network catering to business-to-business market researchers. “B2B market research is a $100,000 million dollar industry, and we feel we can become a leading provider of that data,” said Dan Shapero, director of business services for the LinkedIn Research Network. To date, the LinkedIn Research Network has already partnered with six market research firms–including Phoenix Marketing International and OTX–to conduct targeted B2B primary research among its network of some 30 million professionals worldwide. Among the other advantages that LinkedIn claims to have over other data providers is its global reach with over 13 million professionals outside of the United States on the LinkedIn network. The network also purports to provide deeper insights through better targeting by filtering respondents by title, seniority, function, age, country, and company size, among other variables.

Amazon Q3 Profits, Revs Up, But Poor Outlook Sends Shares Down — Although Amazon was able to beat an analysts’ consensus forecast of $0.25 per share earnings, shares were still down as much as 14 percent in after hours trading, which Marketwatch attributed to a poor Q4 outlook. That said, compared to some others, Amazon reported healthy Q3 numbers, as net income grew 48 percent to $118 million, or $0.27 per diluted share, compared with net income of $80 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, last year. Revenue was up 31 percent to $4.26 billion, missing analysts’ estimates of $4.28 billion. Amazon had offered revenue guidance of a range between $4.2 billion and $4.43 billion. Outlook: Q4 net sales are expected to be between $6.0 billion and $7.0 billion, or to grow between 6 percent and 23 percent compared with Q407. For the full year, net sales are expected to range from $18.46 billion and $19.46 billion, or to grow between 24 percent and 31 percent compared with 2007.

Health Content Wars: Microsoft Bests Google With Aetna, Yahoo Beefs Up Through Partnerships — Microsoft continues to line up HealthVault partners: the latest is Connecticut-based health insurer Aetna. Members currently using Aetna’s electronic Personal Health Record (PHR) feature will be able to transfer those records to HealthVault next month. Aetna is the first benefits provider to make use of Microsoft’s platform. Microsoft recently said that a number of health institutions want to tap both HealthVault and rival Google Health, but the Aetna partnership may be the first sign of a slight advantage over Google. While a number of pharmacy benefits providers have partnered with Google Health, we’ll see how long it takes before a major health insurer does the same.

Google Upgrades Analytics Functions — Google unveiled a major upgrade Wednesday to Google Analytics. It includes new services–such as custom reporting, advanced segmentation, API, visualization tool, integration into AdSense–and updated user interface and management interface. Until now these features had been “extremely expensive,” said Brett Crosby, senior manager of Google Analytics, suggesting companies spend millions of dollars annually for similar functions. “We took something expensive and difficult, and made it free and easy to use.

Olympics Pump Baidu Q3 Profits Up 91 Percent — Boosted by increased usage during the Beijing Olympics, Chinese search engine Baidu’s Q3 profits came in at $51.2 million (347.9 million yuan), or $1.47 per share, up 91 percent from last year’s $24.2 million (181.7 million yuan). Revenues increased by 85 percent, to $135.4 million (919.1 million yuan), from $66.3 million (496.5 million yuan) in Q307. The company beat estimates (via WSJ) although just barely for revenue; analysts polled by Thomson Reuters (NASDAQ: TRIN) expected earnings of $1.28 per share on revenue of $135 million. The engine was also able to attract more advertisers—and get them to spend more—than in previous quarters. Baidu (NSDQ: BIDU) had 194,000 customers in Q3, up 7 percent from Q2, and up almost 36 percent year-over-year. Average revenue per customer came in at 4,700 yuan ($692), up 6.8 percent from Q2 and up 34 percent year-over-year.

Thomson Reuters Plans ‘Relentless’ Cost Cutting In Downturn, Still Optimistic — Thomson Reuters has promised to “relentlessly” cut costs as the global economy begins to bite its clients’ businesses and, with them, its own. Devin Wenig, CEO of the markets division that includes Reuters Media and Reuters.com, yesterday told staff, in a frank internal memo obtained by paidContent:UK: “Many of our big customers are struggling and there is talk of a global recession. We are in a period of unprecedented change that seems to be unfolding in real time… The changes we are witnessing are global and deep and this is very different to a cyclical downturn.”

Digital Media VC

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2008 by Dave Liu

Chinese Online Video Site PPS.tv Gets $20 Million Funding — The Chinese online video funding boom may be abating a bit, but the timing of this one predates the economic crisis in its current form. PPS.tv, a Chinese online video site, has received $20 million in its third round of funding, though the company makes clear this was closed prior to the Beijing Olympic Games. LB investment led the investment, followed by Ceyuan Ventures and Qiming Venture Partners. LB is a strategic investment company affiliated to LG (SEO: 066570) Electronics.

WideOrbit Gets $9.5 Million for Ad Trafficking, Analytics — SF-based advertising analytics startup WideOrbit has received $9.5 million in a fourth round of funding, VentureBeat reports. Mayfield Fund led the round, which isn’t closed—as the firm is hoping to wind up with a solid $10.3 million.

Mail.com Raises $35 Million in Fourth Round — White label e-mail provider Mail.com has raised $35 million in a fourth round of funding. Quadrangle Capital Partners led the round, with WI Harper Group and Novel TMT Ventures also participating.

AdMob Raises $15.7 Million in In Series C — San Mateo, Calif.-based mobile advertising marketplace, has raised $15.7 million in Series C funding. Sequoia Capital’s Growth Fund led the round, and was joined by Accel Partners. The company had previously raised $18.6 million from Accel and Sequoia.

Brightstorm Raises $6 Million in In Series A — San Francisco-based online learning network for teens, has raised $6 million in Series A funding from KTB Ventures.

LinkedIn Raises Another $27 Million, From McGraw-Hill, Among Others — Forget the nuclear winter that Andreesen talked about….the new thing is the Hydrogen bomb winter. And that’s what LinkedIn is preparing for. It has raised another $22.7 million in additional funding, with the purported reason of getting more monetary cushion to ride through the economic downturn, and pick up some other strategic assets on the cheap if they come along. The new money is from previous investor Bessemer Venture Partners, and new investors SAP, Goldman Sachs, and interestingly, McGraw-Hill, which has an extensive deal with LinkedIn on BusinessWeek.com, and supposedly one of the potential acquires for the company (though not affordable at the current valuations).

Metaplace (f.k.a. Areae Inc.) Raised $6.7 Million In New VC Funding — San Diego-based developer of a platform that allows users to create virtual online worlds, has raised $6.7 million in new VC funding. Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz were joined by return backers Charles River Ventures and Crescendo Ventures.

Martini Media Network Raised Undisclosed Amount In Series A — San Francisco-based online ad network focused on affluent individuals, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Venrock, according to VentureWire.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2008 by Dave Liu

Cuil’s Too-Cool Valuation: $200 Million — At least it has a valuation worthy of the hype… Cuil, the recently launched search startup, mainly known for the yawning gap between the quality of the site and the amount of press it got, is valued at $200 million by its investors. The number was determined by PE Data Center (via VentureBeat), using public records, going back to its incorporation in late 2006. Besides the eye-popping headline price, the analysis provides a good glimpse into the mechanism for achieving this valuation, which jumped rapidly from $32 million in early 2007, to the latest price, set later that year, when it raised $25 million, for a total raise of about $33 million. The amount raised had been publicly known, so the story isn’t just that they raised a lot (which they did), but that the founders (with Googly resumes), could get such favorable terms. Meanwhile the chief investor, Madrone Capital, which manages the money of the *Wal-Mart* heirs, did a rather un-Wal-Mart job of getting a bargain.

Content Partnerships Set, Linkedin Now Readies Ad Network — Over the past few months, LinkedIn has sought to make itself more than just an online directory for professionals by striking various content-related deals with the likes of BusinessWeek, NYT and CNBC. With those in place, it’s time for the next step: forming an ad network. Dubbed the LinkedIn Audience Network, the social net is promising to make it easier to reach its 27 million members. The company’s announcement was fairly reticent on the details, such as what other sites it is including in the network. The new program is primarily about expanding existing ad targeting through LinkedIn’s inCrowds—which lists members according to pre-defined and scalable audience segments such as corporate execs, small business professionals and IT workers. Advertisers can also can work with LinkedIn to create their own custom audience segments. The company says the non-personally identifiable data it will make available to advertisers includes industry, job function, seniority, company size, gender and geography.

Reed Business’ Auction Running Into Trouble? — Reed Business Information’s second round auction may be running into trouble, as bidders are lowering their prices, reports Times UK. There are no bids close to its £1.25 billion ($2.5 billion) asking price and there is talk the unit may be worth as little as £800 million ($1.6 billion), the report says. Yet, there is still hope that Reed may be able to sell as a whole, with Bain Capital believed to be particularly interested, the story says. Is the piecemeal sale still possible? As for who’s in and who’s out in second round.

EA Terminates Acquisition Discussion With Take-Two — After seven months of back and forth, Electronic Arts has terminated its takeover talks with game publisher Take-Two. It announced in a statement today that “while EA continues to have a high regard for Take-Two’s creative teams and products, after careful consideration, including a management presentation and review of other due diligence materials provided by Take-Two Interactive Software, EA has decided not to make a proposal to acquire Take-Two and has terminated discussions with Take-Two.” This after FTC cleared EA’s bid in August, and it seemed the two were in confidential negotiations to come to some agreement. EA first offered $26 per share in February, and then lowered to $25.74.

NBCU’s Strategy On Women’s Sites Appears To Work; Collective Traffic Up 28 Percent — NBC Universal’s strategy to link its women’s sites together in a content and ad network seems to be paying off, traffic- wise at least. The company’s cluster of women-oriented sites operating under the Women@NBCU banner– iVillage.com, BlogHer, Oxygen.com and BravoTV.com—attracted a collective 19.8 million uniques last month, ClickZ reported, citing stats from Media Metrix. That number represents a 28 percent increase over the 15.4 million uniques it had in August 2007, signifiying the 25th straight month of year-over-year growth.

More MySpace Music: Raising PE Money?; Not 15th; CEO Shortlist; Advertisers — MySpace Music, which was originally expected to launch Monday, is now pushed to later in the week, and other drib drabs about it are leaking out. We had some details earlier on Friday. New PE Funding?: Very much like Hulu. the other digital video JV, MySpace Music, which has investments from the three studios, is looking to raise PE money, reports TC. The post says it is looking to raise “well over $100 million, at a valuation of $2 billion or more.” Providence Equity Partners, which invested $100 million in Hulu at $1 billion valuation, is reported to be looking at investing. Staci adds: Well, yes, News Corp would love a $2 billion-plus valuation—think Facebook—but that doesn’t make it so; that’s their number, not something anyone has agreed to but again, think Facebook and Microsoft. Call it a case of headline valuation versus real valuation. Providence would be a natural investor given that the two already have a good relationship aided by the way Hulu is so far delivering on its promise. MySpace Music is different, though. As one person familiar with the thinking explained it, Hulu is its own company for the most part while MySpace Music is really like a company with MySpace—and with more parties involved. On the other hand, unlike Hulu, which has had to build an audience, even though the music itself is fairly ubiquitous, MySpace Music could launch as the number 1 music site or pretty close to it.

WSJ.com Relaunches During Financial News Meltdown; Glossy New Look, Business Song Remains The Same — It’s either the best of times or the worst of times for the long-awaited relaunch of WSJ.com. With all the tectonic shifts on Wall Street—Lehman Bros. on the verge of bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch in buyout talks with Bank of America, AIG starting a massive reorg, just to name a few—if all goes as planned, WSJ.com readers will see a completely new site Tuesday `morning. Ditto for The Wall Street Journal Digital Network as Dow Jones implements a massive online makeover in the works even before News Corp took over. The familiar blue and white no longer dominates, making way for a glossier look with charcoal backgrounds and beige accents, presaged by the microsite for the new WSJ. magazine. Even the masthead is charcoal. Even though this redesign moves the site further away from the newspaper, the overall look has the kind of elegance of the print Journal at its best. From a usability standpoint, the most dramatic changes are the elimination of the left-hand navigation and the shift from mirroring newspaper sections to an online-centric organization.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2008 by Dave Liu

Yahoo Reups Verizon Portal Deal; Change in Rev Share Terms — There was a time in 2005 and 2000 where Yahoo was signing up various broadband providers to make itself the default portals for the Internet access subscribers: Verizon, SBC (now AT&T) and Bellsouth, among others. Not much was heard on these deals since 2006 (barring that AT&T deal restructuring early this year), but now Yahoo has re-upped its deal with Verizon, along the same lines as before: users will be able to select a start page of a cobranded Verizon-Yahoo with Yahoo services, of course. Users can also choose to use services from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) or AOL (NYSE: TWX), but Yahoo will be the first option on the list under the new agreement, reports WSJ. Verizon said Yahoo earned the top position, previously held by Microsoft, based on the revenue it generated and shared with Verizon.

Sun May Set Soon On New York Sun If It Doesn’t Find New Funding — New York Sun, the small-but-influential NY area newspaper which launched among much hype in 2002, may be forced to close after this month if it does not find new investors. According to NYP, the paper is losing money at the rate of $1 million a month for total losses surpassing $70 million. The paper was backed by deep-pocketed investors to being with, including Roger Hertog, the former vice chairman of AllianceBernstein, and became known for its coverage of New York City government and the arts and for its conservative political bent, reports WSJ. As of 2007 the paper claims a readership of 150K, supposedly among a slice of “New York elite.”

Liberty Media Details Plans To Split-Off Liberty Entertainment — Liberty Media’s board has approved a plan to fully split Liberty Entertainment, currently a tracking stock, off into a separate public company. After the split, Liberty Entertainment would still retain the name. If the plan goes through, the new Liberty Entertainment would be made up of roughly 50 percent of The DirecTV Group (NYSE: DTV), and all holdings belonging Starz Entertainment, FUN Technologies, and Liberty Sports Holdings. It would also include 50 percent of GSN and 37 percent of WildBlue Communications. Liberty Entertainment would also assume the $2 billion in debt that was incurred to acquire 78.3 million DirecTV shares in April 2008. The parent company said it expected the executive officers of Liberty Media to also hold those positions at Liberty Entertainment, which also means media mogul John Malone.

Microsoft and Others To Take Stake in Japanese Broadcaster NHK; Streaming Online As Well — Microsoft, NTT and Itochu Corp, together with 10 other companies are taking a stake in Japan’s first 24-hour English-language broadcasting service, which local public broadcaster NHK which is due to launch in February, reports Nikkei, citing sources and picked up by Thomson Financial. NHK will issue about $1.8 million in new shares through private placements with these 13 investors, the paper said. Once the new shares are issued, NHK’s interest in the unit will drop to around 60 percent, and each of the 13 companies will have stakes of less than 5 percent each. Both MSFT and NTT, which have expertise in digital media, plan to which broadcast the network online as well. This is the first such channel in Japan, and expects to reach 110 million households in North America, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and other areas of the world.

CNBC-LinkedIn Link Up On Content, Networking — Another media partnership for LinkedIn, which is striving to be more than a place to check contacts. This time it’s CNBC and the business social net in a “significant strategic alliance” that may actually live up to the billing if executed as described: CNBC becomes LinkedIn’s preferred business media provider with text, articles and blogs, financial data, and video content. LinkedIn networking and functionality will be integrated into CNBC.com while LinkedIn content will be used on CNBC the network. Less clear is what the two have to gain financially beyond exposure to each other’s domestic and international audiences: VC-backed LinkedIn has 27-plus million registered users; CNBC hovers around 250,000-265,000 U.S. viewers for total business day viewers but its actual reach is hard to measure because so much of the viewing is out of home.