Archive for Monster

Digital Media M&A

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2008 by Dave Liu

eBay Pays $945M For Bill Me Later; Buys Two Danish Sites For $390M; Cutting Staff By 10 Percent — eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) announced two acquisitions—spending over $1.3 billion altogether—this morning designed to shore up its other parts of its business in the face of declining profits and stagnant traffic at its primary online auction site. The company also finally addressed layoff rumors and said that it is indeed cutting 10 percent of its 15,000-person workforce. The company said about 1,000 full-time jobs will be affected, in addition to several hundred temporary workers and the elimination of open positions. The two acquisitions and the layoffs were summarized in a single release, with two others containing additional details.

Local Online Research Firm Kelsey Group Bought By BIA Financial Network — Kelsey Group, a Princeton-based provider of research and consultancy services in the local media space, including online (we have quoted their work many times over the years), has been acquired by Chantilly, VA-based BIA Financial Network, the financial and strategic consultancy firm for media and communications industries. Financial terms were not disclosed. Kelsey will operate under the newly formed subsidiary BIA Advisory Services, which will also include BIA Consulting and BIA Research. John Kelsey, who founded the group in 1986 with his wife Pam, will oversee conference planning and execution. More details in release.

Aegis Buys Environmental Marketing Company — Media buying and planning firm Aegis Group’s latest acquisition is a little off the beaten path. It has bought fellow London-based company Clownfish, which helps advise marketers on crafting more eco-friendly, “sustainable” initiatives. The acquisition’s terms weren’t detailed, though Aegis said Clownfish has $880,000 (£500,000) in gross assets. While the purchase would seem to have little to do with digital media, Aegis insists that it does. Clownfish will be folded into Aegis’ Isobar search ad network, as the company says it sees a clear relationship between the online and environmentally sound business practices. Overall, Aegis has been stepping up its buying activities lately. Last month it bought U.S.-based search engine marketer Range Online Media for Isobar, its sixth acquisition this year.

VeriSign Exits Mobile Content; Sells Remaining Stake In JV To News Corp For $200 Million — VeriSign’s effort to capitalize on mobile content through its acquisition of Jamba is officially over. VeriSign tried to keep skin in the game through a JV with News Corp (NYSE: NWS). selling 51 percent in May 2007 for $187.5 million and a merger with Fox Mobile Entertainment. Today, the two companies said VeriSign has sold its remaining 49 percent to News Corp for approximately $200 million, suggesting that the value of the JV, which has struggled with leadership and strategic issues, has been static at best. VeriSign’s sale has been expected for months given the company’s switch to a core focus on internet infrastructure. VeriSign acquired German mobile content company Jamba in 2004 for $273 million.

Monster Acquires Remaining 55 Percent Of ChinaHR For $174 Million — Monster.com has full ownership now of major Chinese recruitment site ChinaHR.com, spending $178 million on the 55 percent it did not already own. Monster acquired 40 percent in 2005 for $50 million with a promise that it could get the remainder if ChinaHR failed to do an IPO within three years, according to TradingMarkets.com. As recently as mid-September, ChinaHR president Zhang Jianguo held out hope that the company would finish its IPO plan before year’s end. The acquisition gives Monster a major presence in online recruiting in Asia as well as China. Monster moved quickly to put its stamp on the company, appointing Edward Lo, EVP, Monster Greater China, as interim CEO of ChinaHR; he’ll keep his Monster regional duties as well. But it’s far from a slam dunk. As TradingMarkets.com notes, China’s growth is slowing and the sites face challenges from smaller companies, more localized companies with less overhead.

TNS’ Saga Nears Its Close, As WPP Declares Victory — WPP Group says it’s ready to close the deal for its $2 billion (£1.14 billion) takeover of TNS Media Intelligence, having received the support of 82 percent of the audience researcher’s shareholders, Reuters reports. The is now unconditional, though the extended offer period for further acceptances is open until Oct. 22. WPP will no longer offer the option to mix and match the share to cash ratio, however. As more shareholders shifted their support to WPP over the past week, TNS finally dropped its opposition to the deal on Monday, though it continued to maintain the WPP’s bid undervalued the company. Executives at the UK media measurement firm said they were in an untenable position, as continued attempts to block the takeover would have left TNS investors holding on to a minority interest in an unlisted company.

Digital Media M&A

Posted in Deals, Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2008 by Dave Liu

Monomoy Capital Partners has acquired the Missy Group — Monomoy Capital Partners has acquired the Missy Group from the Redcats Group Inc., a unit of French holding company PPR SA. No financial terms were disclosed. Missy Group will be renamed Women’s Apparel Group LLC, and is a catalog and online retailer of “value-priced” clothing and accessories under the Chadwick’s, metrostyle and Closeout Catalog Outlet brands.

Monster Acquires Job Search Site Trovix For $72.5 Million; Military Site Armees.com — Monster, the incumbent job site, has announced a couple of deals this afternoon, as it looks to fight off upstart competitors, like LinkedIn, Craigslist, Indeed.com and TheLadders… first it has acquired Mountain View-based Trovix, a site that applies semantic search technology to job search. The acquisition price was $72.5 million in cash. Monster says it will integrate its technology, which can help scan resumes and job openings for better matching. Trovix was founded in 2002, and was backed by 3i, Granite Ventures and US Venture Partners. The company has announced over $18 million in funding over two rounds.

YouTube Buys Video Tools Firm Omnisio — YouTube, part of Google, has done a rare acquisition: it has bought online video tools firm Omnisio, for an undisclosed sum. The small Atherton, CA-based startup has mashups, video annotation, video presentations and other tools to allow video sharing users to better express themselves…the thought is that these will be integrated within YouTube as well. For these mashups, the service could ingest video in from YouTube, Google Video and Blip.tv, though it may be that it discontinues Blip if it is integrated into YouTube. TC says the deal is all cash and is in the $15 million range.

WPP Group Acquires Majority Stake In Actis — WPP announces that its wholly-owned operating company, Wunderman, the New York-based global relationship marketing network, has acquired a majority stake in Alite Ltd, trading as Actis, one of Russia’s leading digital agencies. Founded in 1997, Moscow-based Actis employs more than 120 people. Offering full-spectrum digital services, Actis provides strategy, design, development and content management for clients in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The agency has completed more than 700 commercial internet projects for clients including Canon, Microsoft, MTV and VimpelCom. Actis’ unaudited revenues for the year ended 31 December 2007 were RUB 124m (EUR 3.4m), with gross assets at the same date of RUB 51m (EUR 1.4m). This investment continues WPP’s strategy of developing its networks in fast growing markets and sectors and strengthening its capabilities in digital media.

Yellow Pages To Buy Volt Directory Services — Yellow Pages Group said Wednesday, July 30, that it has agreed to buy the directory systems, services and North American publishing operations of Volt Information Sciences Inc. for about $178 million in cash. New York-based Volt, a staffing company, said the deal includes its directory systems and services assets, which provides telephone directory database management. Also included is DataNational, a publisher of community directories under the Community Phonebook brand.

AOL Buys Online Profile Manager SocialThing — AOL has bought Socialthing, a company the offers to help manage users online identities, according to Techcrunch. The Boulder, CO.-based company raised $300K of a planned $500K back in October and has been in beta since last year as well. Terms of the deal weren’t revealed. In March, AOL expanded its web mail service to include tighter integration with its AIM messaging tools. The purchase of Socalthing is likely tied to efforts to make services like AIM more portable.

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2008 by Dave Liu

Ticketmaster To Be Independent In Early August Following $750MM Payment To IAC/InterActiveCorp — Ticketmaster, a West Hollywood, California-based ticket seller, will be spun off IAC/InterActiveCorp by the beginning of August, Los Angeles Business Journal reported. Sean Moriarty, the chief executive officer of Ticketmaster, said that Ticketmaster will have roughly USD 750m of debt and USD 450m of cash after leaving its parent company, IAC/InterActiveCorp, according to the report. A Wall Street Journal article reported that Ticketmaster will make a USD 750m dividend payment to IAC/InterActiveCorp immediately prior to its spin-off. The move was announced by IAC yesterday, the report said, adding that other units being spun off – HSN and Interval International – will also pay a dividend, totalling in excess of USD 1bn when taken with the Ticketmaster payment. The dividends will be made public by the subsidiaries within the next few days, the item stated.

Google To Launch Media Planning Tool AdPlanner — Continuing its inroads in the media planning side of the business, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) will launch an ad planning tool for agencies and marketers tomorrow called AdPlanner. According to NYT, “AdPlanner, was designed to help agencies identify sites where their target audience might be active. While it uses audience measurement data, AdPlanner also combines it with search engine data and information from third parties, to determine with more precision what sites attract a certain demographic audience. It then uses that data to help agencies determine where to place ads.”

Monster Aligns With 19 Newspapers For Career Ad Network; Co-Branded Sites On The Way Too — Seeing slow ad growth, deliberate or not, Monster has formed a “career ad network” with 19 local newspapers. The move comes just as that industry feels increasingly squeezed by an economic downturn and the industry. Monster first struck an ad alliance with the New York Times Co (NYSE: NYT). in February 2007 and a few months later rolled out a co-branded site with its Boston Globe Boston.com site last year as well. Since then, the newspaper ad alliance space has been filled by new entrants like the NYTCO-backed QuadrantOne and the more established Yahoo Newspaper Consortium, which is planning to unveil some additional targeting services in Q3. 

Murdoch Restructures WSJ And Sets High Digital Target — Revenue from Dow Jones’ digital operations could shoot up to 75% from 50% in a just a few years, says Rupert Murdoch, chairman of Dow Jones’ parent, News Corp. His comments come as the company is restructuring itself to become more nimble and efficient. Among the changes, Dow Jones’ Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is creating a new central news desk to coordinate domestic and international reporting between the newspaper and Dow Jones Newswires print and online operations. The company is also promoting three new deputy managing editors who will report to the WSJ’s managing editor Robert Thomson, also editor in chief of Dow Jones.  

Former Yahoo! Exec Rolls Out Topspin Media — Topspin Media, an online marketing services firm for musicians, has emerged from stealth mode. The firm, headed by Yahoo!’s former VP for music Ian Rogers, goes live after a year in development, with more services to be rolled out over the coming months. Topspin’s unbranded marketing software – aimed at bands and existing marketing firms – is designed to help musicians connect with fans and build their brands. Eventually the platform will be open to anyone, and is currently being used by selected artists such as the Dandy Warhols and Josh Rouse, who are using it to independently release new material through their websites.