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Archive for the ‘Acquisitions’ Category


Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), which just announced buying online video tech provider Maven Networks, has quietly relaunched its consumer video service. The service, which has been retooled a few times and hasn’t been a big competition to the likes of YouTube and others, still has the traffic funnel of Yahoo, so has to be taken into contention. The service has a bigger player, better resolution, a better upload tool, and has some new tools for organizing content. This relaunch does not yet incorporate anything from Maven’s acquisition, but one would expect it to be part of the service down the line…which would probably mean an even higher quality video experience.

One missing thing for Yahoo is any kind of premium downloads. Would expect this not to be done in-house, and someone like Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) through its Unbox service could be a partner…after all Amazon has been looking to do such powered-by deals of late.

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As reported on paidcontent.org

Here’s the article on Yahoo’s Maven acquisition on paidcontent.org

Life goes on at Yahoo: the company has confirmed its previously rumored acquisition of online video platform Maven Networks, although the price tag of “approximately” $160 million is a bit higher than the previous $150 million estimate. The reports first surfaced on New TeeVee and TechCrunch on Jan. 31, the night before Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) launched its bid for Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). It’s not clear if the delay, however, between the initial reports and the official announcement had anything to do with the bigger issues facing the company. Cambridge, MA-based Maven offers a platform for high-res video hosting and distribution, as well as a system for video advertising. Release.

— Maven, which has raised $30 million, has relationships with a number of major content providers, including Fox News, Sony BMG, and “CBS” Sports. Backers include Prism Ventures, Accel Partners and General Catalyst. By comparison, Brightcove, whose CEO Jeremy Allaire was the EIR at General catalyst when the firm invested in Maven, has raised $80 million, since its launch in 2004.

— The company, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yahoo, will remain in Cambridge but becomes part of Hilary Schneider’s Global Partner Solutions group. Yahoo says it plans to invest in the growth of Maven’s overall video business and to expand Maven’s suite with “video monetization services” and “advanced technologies for delivering consumers more relevant advertising experiences.”

David adds: I spoke with Maven CEO Hilmi Ozguc and Rebecca Paoletti, Yahoo’s director of video strategy/sales. More after the jump…

Both offered details of the complementary aspects of working together, especially as Yahoo prepares to relaunch its video network on Thursday. Both also said that the discussions between Yahoo and Maven occurred month’s before Microsoft’s $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo was floated. Ozguc said he regards the Microsoft talk as a side issue far removed from his and Yahoo’s current plans. As for how a Microsoft takeover might affect Maven down the road, Ozguc would only say, “Your guess is as good as mine.”

A playing field of titans: The nascent stage of online video, which was dominated by startups, has passed, Ozguc said. Now it’s a “playing field of titans and we thought the time was right to become one of the biggest players in online advertising. It’s not just Yahoo’s display and search capabilities, but their deep relationships with publishers that made this such a good fit for us.”

The combination: Maven manages the video distribution and ad trafficking for over 30 media companies with hundreds of affiliate sites within them. And Yahoo has licensing deals with roughly 75 percent of the major TV ad spenders. “It’s not that Yahoo didn’t have deals with many of the players that we do, but we’ve five years on creating a video publishing system. That technology is the other half of our value proposition. We’re a pure technology provider. We never got into ad sales or creating portals. It’s a very clean relationship from that perspective.”

Maven brand stays (for now): Ozguc: “We’re still a well-known brand and there’s no reason to do away with it. That’s not to say that Yahoo won’t rebrand it. But the plan right now is to keep the name in place.” And even though the two companies are working on integrating each other’s workforces, Ozguc added that no layoffs are imminent. “That issue has been talked about and decided. Yahoo did not acquire this company to lay people off.”

Microsoft and Yahoo! have been struggling ,as we all know, to monetize the real estate of the Internet World, i.e the Page Views. Where Microsoft lost about 250M$ in the online business last quarter, Yahoo also suffered a 23% drop in their net earnings in the same quarter. It’s not that these giants don’t know the business, they just seem helpless especially since they have no share in the strongest online business value chain, i.e. the Search. No wonder google still raked in a kewl 17% increase in their annual revenue.

While Microsoft was busy writing petitions against a possible buyout of double click by Google, Yahoo was busy firing its employees and trying to lower the opex to show healthy earnings to its investors

But Investors are smart and they can clearly see the Armageddon. They know that Dinosaurs did extinct and so can Yahoo.

But was Yahoo sleeping the whole time? No

Jerry Yang,Mr Yahoo, tried to reinvigorate life back in Yahoo management by calling a 100 day management review last year in July. Here’s a presentation

Irony is that do u really need a 100 days to identify a disease that has such visible side effects. When you don’t have a share in the Search market, no matter if your clicking Trillion page views you just cant make money. For the four weeks ending in January 2008, Google accounted for 65.98% of U.S. searches, while Yahoo! and Microsoft combined amounted to just 27.84% of searches.

The second big question for Yahoo has been how to enter the SNS market. But Can you really sell the concept of making money by doing SNS now to Investors, NO? You could have 2 yrs back,but you wont have the back of your investors to invest into the SNS space especially When Google’s struggling to monetize their Myspace inventory

So does this mean the quest to make money on Social networking sites is never ending?

Well Microsoft seems to think otherwise, especially since they’ve been acting happy about their investment and the advertising deal with Facebook. Hmmmmm……

Does all this hint that Google is the Achilles with out the week heel ?

O Sorry, not yet the Giants are trying their Last move…..lets wait until then…

Here’s more stuff for you to munch on the deal: Cnet

Social networking is one of the biggest and fastest-evolving phenomena on the Web, and Microsoft’s proposed takeover of Yahoo will undoubtedly send it in new directions. More than anything, a MSFT-YHOO acquisition will shake up the debate over just how you can make money off a Facebook or MySpace.com–because they’re running out of time to figure that out.

Should the Microsoft-Yahoo acquisition go through, expect them to try to corner the social-network advertising market.

The common wisdom is that neither Microsoft nor Yahoo is a real force in social networking. Both companies own multiple social media properties, and the only resounding success among them is Yahoo’s Flickr. (Sorry, Microsoft, I’m not counting the Zune’s “song-squirting.”) “They’re very interested in the space,” Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li said in an interview with CNET News.com. “They haven’t been able to get traction in it. They look at it very longingly.”

Social networking, in addition, will be a tasty slice of the Web for a hypothetical Microsoft-Yahoo because it’s also one of the few niches of the Web on which Google doesn’t already have a stranglehold. Its OpenSocial developer initiative isn’t ready yet, its Orkut social network has only gained traction in a few regions of the globe, and the company admitted in its recent quarterly earnings call that social advertising (specifically on News Corp.’s MySpace) isn’t bringing home the bacon.

Taking the reins on the advertising market is probably the best way for Microsoft-Yahoo to make waves in social networking without actually launching a big social-media initiative–and I certainly hope they don’t try to, because there are way too many networks out there already. Microsoft already has a foot in the door with its $240 million stake in Facebook. (Yahoo tried to acquire it outright in 2006 and was promptly spurned.) And Facebook’s own Social Ads were met with high-profile opposition and plenty of bad press.

With Microsoft’s and Yahoo’s resources pooled, the two companies could devise a more effective social advertising strategy (if such a thing is even possible). Even if it’s dubious in its effectiveness, expect it to be very high profile. Think about it: Microsoft-Yahoo could claim they’re doing what Google couldn’t do. How’s that for instilling confidence?

“A potential acquisition, if it actually goes through, could be a much, much more interesting player for Facebook to want to do business with,” Li said, noting that Facebook’s current deal with Microsoft only covers display advertisements, not search ads. “If Microsoft and Yahoo can actually make a play in search, that makes Facebook a lot more comfortable going with an all-Microsoft deal and maybe even be acquired by it. Who knows?”

But beyond advertising, a combined Microsoft-Yahoo has a massive social-networking tool at its fingertips, Li continued. “Yahoo and Microsoft both have this wonderful asset called e-mail address books and instant-messaging buddy lists, which are essentially a social graph,” she said. “A lot of people are using those services, much more so than Gmail, for example, and so that’s an instant social graph.”

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Rumors popped up here in Silicon Valley that Yahoo is in negotiations to buy Israel-based FoxyTunes.

The Foxytunes core service is a Firefox plugin that allows users to control their favorite media players from the browser. It has a small but loyal following, who also use their tangential services (an email/blog signature tool and FoxyTunes Planet, a site that aggregates music information).

The acquisition makes some sense given Yahoo recent overt signals that they are shaking things up in music. Last week they launched a new, stripped down, easy-to-use web based MP3 player as well. The technology that FoxyTunes has created could certainly be used to further that agenda.

FoxyTunes won’t return emails asking about this. Unsurprisingly, Yahoo also chose not to commentReported on Techcrunch