M&A is back in full-force in the consumer internet space, but this
time around, it's not just the usual suspects -- tech companies -- doing
Case in point: yesterday, Walmart announced that it is buying social
media company Kosmix. Founded in 2005, the company, which raised $55m in
investment over the years, "filters social media to connect you to
content that interests."
When investing in or buying a company, taking a peek under the hood is all but required. Anything else, of course, is sort of like going to Vegas and betting a huge chunk of your retirement on black.
Generally, due diligence includes looking at a company's financials. From the top line to the bottom line, prospective investors and acquirers need to know how healthy a company is and where it appears to be headed. But when investing in or acquiring an online business, should investors and acquirers be paying more attention to the SEO profiles of the properties they're considering?
The eBay brand is synonymous with online auctions, but over the years, eBay's business has expanded well beyond those auctions.
The company's crown jewel -- PayPal -- was purchased in 2002 for $1.5bn, and the online payment provider now accounts for more than a third of eBay's revenue. eBay's portfolio also includes comparison shopping site Shopping.com, financing service BillMeLater and rental classifieds site Rent.com.
Amazon may be the internet's dominant ecommerce company, but its ambitions extend well beyond retail.
It has fast become a key player in a market that is expected to become
very large -- cloud infrastructure -- and now it appears to be making some
moves into content which could be harbingers of things to come.
Newspapers? Dying? Television? Might as well die too. New media? That's where future empires will be built.
At least that's what some have been claiming since blogging and 'new media' became a mainstream phenomenon. And to be sure, new media's future does look bright. But is it as bright as many had predicted? Perhaps not.
At one point in the no-so-distant past, Digg was one of the hottest
startups on the internet. The Web 2.0 boom was in full swing, and Digg
and its founder Kevin Rose were the poster children for the next
generation of companies that would ride the wave to fame and fortune.
Digg, of course, rose to popularity by providing a platform that
democratized the news. Why rely on editors to determine what's
important and what's not?Let the wisdom of the crowd works its magic.
It was a simple idea, but a powerful one.
In the tech industry, acquisitions are a fact of life. Big companies
look to acquisitions for innovation and talent, and many entrepreneurs
hope that their hard work will one day result in their creations being
When it comes to who is doing the acquiring in 2010, Google is at the
head of the pack. In search of technologies and services that
compliment its initiatives, and perhaps even the next big thing, the
search giant has snapped up 23 companies this year according to CB
Thanks to the rise of massive social networks, namely Facebook, and a
multi-billion dollar virtual currency market, social gaming has become
one of the hottest spaces on the consumer internet.
But there's another reason social gaming is so hot: it is putting the
'casual' back into the concept of 'casual gaming'. Through social games
like Farmville and Mafia Wars, millions upon millions of non-gamers
have become gamers. In the process, social games are potentially
reshaping the gaming industry more broadly.
Vertical search is already a big focus in the search
market, and Google has its sights set on the skies. And we're not talking about the infamous Google party plane.
Yesterday, Google announced that it is buying flight information
software company ITA Software for $700m in cash. ITA Software's technology is widely used by airlines and online travel
destinations, and "effortlessly searches – at a billion combinations
per query – fares, schedules, and availability." That's why Google was
willing to pay big bucks for ITA's technology, which it hopes will
enable it to help passengers, airlines and online travel agencies find
flights and fares more efficiently.
Groupon may be the 800 pound gorilla in the super-hot group buying space, but its prominent success story, coupled with low barriers to entry, has led to a significant amount of competition, both in Groupon's home market, the United States, and globally.
Not surprisingly, Groupon isn't content with its current U.S. dominance. Investors haven't poured nine-figures into the company so that it can maintain its current market position. So it's rapidly expanding internationally to tap into new sources of growth. But expanding beyond a home market almost always comes with challenges and risks, and that's becoming apparent as Groupon tries to move at breakneck speed into far-flung markets.