Popular microblogging service Twitter is the Silicon Valley equivalent of a Hollywood celebrity that the paparazzi can't stop following. And it doesn't look like that's set to change anytime soon given that the company may be on the verge of raising another massive round of funding.
According to TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, multiple sources are indicating that Twitter CEO Evan Williams disclosed a new $50m (give or take) round of funding at a company meeting. And the valuation for the round will be four times the previous round's $250m valuation. Yes, $1bn.
If M&A activity is a good indicator of the health of the economy, there's hope for a recovery, at least in tech. Newsworthy acquisitions are becoming more frequent and yesterday saw a billion-dollar deal with Adobe's announcement that it is purchasing business optimization software provider Omniture.
The deal, which is valued at $1.8bn, was hailed by Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen as "a game changer for both Adobe and our customers". And it better be, as Adobe's offer of $21.50 per share for Omniture stock represents a 24% premium to Omniture's closing price on Tuesday.
There are signs that the global economy may be stabilizing and recent M&A activity in the tech sector offers hope that tech will be closer to the front of the pack. But that may not be much consolation to many UK startups that are hurting for cash.
According to Jonathan Kestenbaum, CEO of the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts (NESTA), as many as 800 young companies face an "unimaginable dilemma" that threatens their survival. The cause of this dilemma: a frozen market for venture capital.
More M&A: publicly-traded software company Intuit is acquiring personal finance upstart Mint.com for $170m. Mint.com, which launched at TechCrunch40 in 2007 and had raised nearly $32m from investors, has over 1.5m users and tracks more than $50bn in assets for its users.
Mint.com is simple: it allows users to aggregate data for their bank, credit and investment accounts and track those accounts through a single interface. Through this, Mint.com can help users identify areas for savings (it claims to have found over $300m in potential savings for its users) and promote financial services that users may be interested in.
At this time a year ago, the global economy was imploding. We were in uncharted territory. Banks were on the brink. Lending dried up. Private equity was sitting tight. The wheels of the financial markets had stopped moving.
Flash forward to today. While there's still lots of debate about what the future holds and there's good reason to believe that we're not out of the woods yet, in some industries executives are feeling more confident. In the tech and media worlds, there are signs of life in the M&A markets.
Are Facebook employees who took advantage of the ability to cash out
some of their stock holdings as part of a tender offer from investor
Digital Sky Technologies "mercenaries"?
Controversial BusinessWeek tech reporter Sarah Lacy thinks they are.
The reason: they're giving up too soon. Lacy believes the $100m tender
offer, which is giving some employees the ability to sell up to 25% of
their Facebook stock at a $6.5bn valuation, will prove to be a
steal for Digital Sky Technologies.
After days of chatter, MySpace made its acquisition of social music discovery startup iLike official today. The company, which is best known for its popular Facebook music app, will see its social discovery technology applied in new areas such as gaming, according to MySpace CEO Owen van Natta. To that end, iLike was acquired by MySpace Inc., not MySpace's digital music joint venture.
According to the acquisition announcement, the current iLike experience that users have come to love will be "unaffected by
the acquisition" and iLike will continue to be headquarted in Seattle.
Less than a year ago, AOL acquired Bebo for $850m in cash in what is today still one of only a handful of major Web 2.0 acquisitions.
Our resident skeptic, Drama 2.0, criticized the deal and called the suggestion that AOL may have overpaid for the popular social network the "understatement of the year".
M&A activity and investments in the interactive ad industry
declined in 2008 according to a new report issued by Petsky Prunier.
Deals were down 29% and acquirers and investors spent five times less than they did in 2007.