Archive for M&A

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.

Digital Media M&A

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2009 by Dave Liu

Consumers Union To Buy Gawker’s Consumerist.com — Consumers Union is buying Consumerist.com from Gawker Media, according to the New York Times—meshing the non-profit publisher’s interest in expanding its reach to a younger online crowd with Nick Denton’s latest blog diet. (The Times, the average age of a print Consumer Reports sub is 60 and ConsumerReports.com is 50, while the snarkier Consumerist draws from the 18-49 crowd.) Kevin McKean, VP and editorial director of Consumers Union, told the NYT the blog would be part of a new division, that the current editors would stay on and that the style would stay the same. Two contributors who were laid off by Gawker will rejoin the site in January. No terms disclosed.

Digital Media M&A

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

Chinese Portal Company SINA Buys Part of Focus Media For About $1B in Stock — A rare large media deal, this time in the Chinese market: SINA, one of the big online portal companies in China, has acquired the out-of-home ad assets to local company Focus Media (NSDQ: FMCN), in stock. It will acquire Focus’ LCD display network, poster frame network and in-store network; in return, SINA will issue 47 million newly issued ordinary shares to Focus, who will then distribute these shares to its shareholders shortly after the closing. Focus will retain its online ad division, the movie theater ad network portion of its commercial location network and certain traditional billboards.

Austin Ventures and Casella Buy Fin Info Provider Asset International — Austin Ventures, the PE firm, has acquired B2B online/print financial information provider Asset International, a Stamford, CT, which focuses on pension funds, asset managers, and other financial institutions. AV has also invested an undisclosed amount of capital into the company. Jim Casella, the former CEO of Reed Business U.S., who was working with Austin as an entrepreneur in residence of sorts, has taken over at the CEO of the decade old company. Asset International has brands such as Plamsponsor magazine aimed at inv*stm*nt professionals, Daily NewsDash and AdvisorDash newsletters, among others. Casella has been working with Austin Ventures for more than a year now, and had been working with one of the parties involved in the failed RBI auction which was finally called off last month. Also, he was supposedly part of the consortium that almost bought Entrepreneur magazine earlier this year.

PixelFish Buys Assets Of Shuttered Video Apps Firm Eyespot — PixelFish, an LA-based online video advertising solutions firm, has bought the assets of shuttered online video tools and services provider Eyespot, for an undisclosed sum. Eyespot closed down earlier this Fall, after failing to gain traction in the industry, despite having raised $3.7 million from Gabriel Venture Partners, Express Ventures and executives from MP3.com and DivX. Now with the assets acquisition, PixelFish will integrate EyeSpot’s online video production tools and video transcoding tech into its video ad creation and optimization tech.

Digital Media M&A

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , on December 19, 2008 by Dave Liu

Macrovision Sells Off TV Guide Network For Up To $300 Million; Shocker: Also Sells Online — Macrovision (NSDQ: MVSN) is almost done with most of its dispositions, and after selling off its TV Guide magazine for $1 to OpenGate Capital, is getting considerably more for the namesake TV network and the online part: it has sold off TV Guide Network to Allen Shapiro and One Equity Partners for about $255 million, plus up to an additional $45 million earnout payable through 2012. The surprise part: after professing love for TVGuide.com network (which includes jumptheshark.com, tv-now.com, tvshowsondvd.com and fansofrealitytv.com) for the last couple of quarters, it is now washing its hands off it, and bundled it as part of this TV network sale. The deal is expected to close on April 1 next year. One Equity Partners is the $8 billion PE arm of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Shapiro was most recently president of entertainment management firm Mosaic Media Group and CEO of Dick Clark Productions (DCP). Shapiro facilitated the leveraged buyout of DCP and became CEO of the company in 2004.

iB3 Networks Goes Social: Buys Entertainment Community And Online Dating Site — Web-hosting firm and online network iB3 Networks (OTC BB:IBNW) is adding a pair of social media properties to its roster: Plugmeister.com, an online community where entertainers can upload and sell their video and audio clips, and MadisonAvenueMatch.com, an online dating service slated to launch in early 2009. iB3 will acquire MGV Communications, parent company of Plugmeister, in an all-stock deal, though the price was undisclosed. According to Eric Schmidt, IB3’s CEO, the site separates itself from other social nets because it gives artists a place to sell their content directly—not just promote it.

Digital Media M&A

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , on December 12, 2008 by Dave Liu

Atari-Infogrames Buying Multiplayer Games Developer Cryptic Studios for $27.6 Million — French video games company Infogrames, majority shareholder of Atari, s buying Las Gatos, CA-based online multiplayer games developer Cryptic Studios for $27.6 million in cash and shares—with earn-out clauses taking the figure to $55.1 million by 2011 depending on the performance of Cryptic’s games. Infogrames is issuing company bonds to get its hands on the company which it hopes will boost Atari’s online games growth in America and abroad with its games including Champions Online, due for release next year, and a Star Trek game slated for 2010. Cryptic says it generated more than $100 million from its City of Heroes and City of Villains multiplayer games, before selling them to NCSoft. The company has about 150 full-time staff and for the 12 months June 30 it made revenues of $17 million.

IK Sells Wehkamp — IK Investment Partners has sold Dutch online retailer Wehkamp to a group of undisclosed private investors. No financial terms were disclosed. IK and credit management company Transfair originally acquired Wehkamp in early 2006 from UK retailer GUS PLC. A source familiar with the situation said the deal is worth about 500 million euros ($663.4 million) to IK, which acquired the business in 2006 from GUS plc, which subsequently demerged into Home Retail Group (HOME.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Experian (EXPN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz). IK said its reorganisation of the retailer into three online stores for fashion, living and electronics has turned around Wehkamp’s declining sales to produce an average annual growth rate of 5 percent and a doubling of operating profits.

Digital Media M&A

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2008 by Dave Liu

Morningstar Acquires SEC Filings Service 10-K Wizard For $12.5 Million — Morningstar, the investment research and data firm, has acquired one of the services we use multiple times a day: 10-K Wizard, one of the providers of SEC filings research and alert services, for $12.5 million subject to working capital adjustments. Besides filings itself, 10K has been developing data mining tools to make sense of filings, as well as comparison tools across different filings and time periods. Morningstar will use the service to add to its overall research services…the company also said that 10K’s technology can be applied to documents of all kinds, like mutual fund prospectuses. More details in release. 10K was founded in 1999, and based in Dallas, TX. The service is available via a monthly or yearly subscription.

Online Video Services Provider The FeedRoom Acquires ClearStory — The FeedRoom, a longtime player in the online video services sector, has acquired ClearStory Systems, a digital asset management (DAM) software provider, for an undisclosed sum. The two are focused on enterprise and white label online and digital video services. FeedRoom has been around since 1999, and has raised at least $61 million since launching.

SW International Inc. Has Acquired DailyStrength — SW International Inc. (Nasdaq: HSWI) has acquired DailyStrength, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based social network that connects users through their medical conditions. No financial terms were disclosed. DailyStrength had raised over $4 million in VC funding from Redpoint Ventures. Source: PE Week Wire.

Digital Media M&A

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , on November 27, 2008 by Dave Liu

Yahoo Sells Off European Comparison Shopping Site Kelkoo To PE Firm — Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), which has been trying to sell off its European comparison shopping service Kelkoo for a while now, has finally found a buyer, according to a report: it has been sold to a little-known UK-based private equity firm called Jamplant, for something less than euro 100 million ($126 million). Yahoo bought the service in 2004 for a price then of about 475 million euros (now $598 million).  

Disney Sold Movies.com To Comcast For $17 Million — Earlier this year in June, Fandango, the online movie tickets service that is part of Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), bought out movies-info site Movies.com from Disney (NYSE: DIS), for a then-undisclosed sum. Now the amount has come out, in Disney’s latest annual 10-K filing with the SEC: The movies.com business was sold for $17 million on June 18, 2008, resulting in a pre-tax gain of $14 million.