Archive for VeriSign

Articles of the Day

Posted in Digital Media, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2008 by Dave Liu

HLTH Corp. and WebMD Cancel Merger Agreement, Citing Market Turmoil — The wildly fluctuating financial markets have doomed a long-planned merger between HLTH Corp. and its majority-owned subsidiary, WebMD. HLTH said the companies’ boards, which both agreed to the termination, felt both sides would benefit from WebMD remaining as a publicly-traded unit, citing its approximately $340 million in cash and inv*stm*nts and no long-term debt as evidence of a strong balance sheet. Given the particular struggles in the credit market these days, WebMD’s growth would have been constrained by HLTH’s $650 million in long-term debt that would be coming due in 18 to 36 months. HLTH owns approximately 84 percent of WebMD. Separately, HLTH said it was buying back 50 million shares of its common stock at a price per share of $9.20.

Analysts Disappointed By Yahoo’s Q3, Low Expectations For The Future — Yahoo’s struggles are nothing new, and yesterday’s Q3 reconfirmed that the tough times will only continue. Aside from plans to lay off 10 percent of its workforce, Yahoo reported anemic 1 percent growth in revenue—$1.786 billion—and a 19.6 drop in net income to $153 million. Also, affiliate revs continued their series of quarterly declines, dropping 10 percent over last year; and while O&O display was up 3 percent, it represented a significant slowdown in growth. As for how some of the analysts who follow Yahoo saw it, most continue to believe that the company’s stock, which was trading around $12.60—less than a third of where it was back in June when Microsoft was trying to acquire it—is still worth holding. But most remain skeptical about a turnaround before the end of 2009.

Netflix Q3 Revs Rise 16 Percent; Net Income Gains 30 Percent — Netflix Q3 revenues came in at $341 million, up 16 percent year-over-year from Q307’s $294 million. Meanwhile, GAAP net income for the same period was $20.4 million ($0.33 per diluted share), compared to $15.6 million ($0.23 per diluted share) the year before—a 30 percent gain. Gross profit also grew, rising 8.4 percent to $116 million from Q307’s $107 million. The movie rental company also beat analysts’ estimates, Reuters reported. As a result, Netflix shares gained roughly 3 percent to end $24.53 a share in after-hours trading on Monday after closing at $23.80 a share.

FIM Partners With Lin TV To Build Local Broadcast Sites — Fox Interactive Media is working with digital publishing company Lin TV to build up parent News Corp.’s local broadcast sites. So far, the FIM and Lin TV have launched two sites, for Rhode Island’s and Florida’s Over the next few weeks, an unspecified number of other local TV sites will be rolled out. As part of the arrangement, FIM is delivering both back-end and front-end publishing services to LIN TV’s stable of web properties, including content management, video, contextual search and social networking. On its end, Lin TV is creating customized video players, weather map and social net tools.

Fox Creates Mobile Group After Buying Jamba Stake; Will Launch U.S. Brand — News Corp is overhauling its mobile operations after paying VeriSign (NSDQ: VRSN) $200 million for its remaining 49 percent state in Jamba, the mobile content company. This marks the end to the company’s whirlwind history, which succeeded with the rise of ringtones, only to struggle as it faced controversies over billing practices and waning ringtone sales. Going forward, the company known as Jamba will be gone, but the brand will continue under the newly formed Fox Mobile Group, which will be led by Jamba’s CEO Mauro Montanaro. Under the new leadership and business structure, the group will enter its next phase, which includes significant investments by launching a new mobile brand in the U.S. and by opening up a new studio to create made-for-mobile content. To understand what’s going on, we talked to Fox Mobile Group’s new CEO Mauro Montanaro, Jamba’s former CEO.

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 — has full ownership now of major Chinese recruitment site, 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 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 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.