Category Archives: Acquisition

LinkedIn buys Slideshare for $119 MillionAnnounced first by TechCrunch just moments ago, professional social network, LinkedIn, has just announced its acquisition of presentation/document-sharing powerhouse SlideShare for $119 million. This deal is something that will certainly benefit the professional community on LinkedIn–161 million members strong–in their attempt to build their social graph on the site. Sure, you could already add the SlideShare application to your profile, but now with SlideShare part of the LinkedIn family, members could theoretically go ahead and not only add their presentations to their profile, thereby making it more portfolio-like, but also implementing it on company pages, groups, etc.

In their press release, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said the following:

Presentations are one of the main ways in which professionals capture and share their experiences and knowledge, which in turn helps shape their professional identity. These presentations also enable professionals to discover new connections and gain the insights they need to become more productive and successful in their careers, aligning perfectly with LinkedIn’s mission and helping us deliver even more value for our members. We’re very excited to welcome the SlideShare team to LinkedIn.

Discovery Channel buys Revision3Web television has just gone mainstream. Sure, we know that our favorite television shows go online the day after they air and we can catch what we missed simply by going to Hulu or the respective network’s website, but how often will the networks offer original programming online? Probably never…because it wouldn’t make that much sense for them–they have their own network viewed by millions of people each day so might as well exploit it. But let’s not discount what we’ve seen online either…there’s been some really great web series that have huge followings.

Maybe finding a huge web property that would allow Discovery to create original series while enabling it to expand its online offerings was key for Discovery Communications. As a result, the parent company of the Discovery Channel has announced its acquisition of web-video startup Revision3 for an undisclosed amount. Known as a TV network for the web, Revision3 is probably one of the first to really make it big in web video content, producing hit shows like Diggnation, Epic Meal Time, GeekBeat.TV, HD Nation, Foundation, Lifehacker, Scam School, SGNL by Sony, Tekzilla, and the Totally Rad Show. It is probably known best as being among the leading special interest video network focused on technology while also being home to some of the top Internet video talent like Digg and Revision3 founder, Kevin Rose, Veronica Belmont, Patrick Norton, Alex Albrectht, Cali Lewis, and Brian Brushwood. But now, Revision3 will become more mainstream and well-known on the Discovery Channel as “Shark Week”.

Instagram of Instagram's announcement

Instagram just proved that it was definitely the top dog of the photo-sharing market. Announced today was a monster deal that pairs the largest photo-sharing app in the market today with the largest social network in the world. Yes, that’s right, Facebook has jumped and bought Instagram for a whopping $1 billion. Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, posted that they’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently and there’s no indication that it would act otherwise.

This acquisition totally makes sense and is probably a perfect one–as Mr. Zuckerberg mentioned in his post, the social network for years has been “focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family” and Instagram now gives users the ability to be totally creative and help post (what some may think) better photos to the social network. After all, a photo-sharing feature currently does not exist on Facebook’s mobile app and there are some who think that their native mobile app just plain sucks. Now, Facebook owns one of the most popular apps and will be able to integrate both the team and the app right into its collective and build something great.

Research in Motion's BlackberryBefore the invention of the iPhone and the creation of the Android device, the market leader for smartphones was Research in Motion. Through it’s main product, the Blackberry, companies and individuals could tap into their emails, make phone calls, and use numerous apps and games right from the palm of their hands. It was all the rage and everyone had to have them. Now focus on today’s market and the entire landscape has shifted away from RIM’s grasp and focus: Only 5% of US smartphone buyers chose to get a Blackberry. Why is that? It’s because more and more apps and appeal is being given to the competitors from Apple and Google. What’s worse is that for those 5% of consumers who actually bought a Blackberry, most are probably not even satisfied with their phone.

So why did they buy them? Probably for a variety of reasons…the physical keyboard, perhaps? Or maybe it’s because it’s compatible with their work email client? Maybe they don’t like the fact that potential malware could be in apps that they’ve heard is plaguing Android devices? Or lastly, maybe it’s because they don’t want to give themselves up to the Apple fanaticism? Whatever the reasoning is, there are still those people out there who wish to purchase a Blackberry…now the question is why is Blackberry still doing so poorly? Some might speculate that the phone manufacturer isn’t keeping up with the times or maybe that there’s just not enough demand for mobile apps to come out. Think about the latest and greatest mobile apps that have emerged recently, whether it’s Path or Instagram or even a proximity app like Highlight–all of which are available on iOS or even Android devices, but would they ever develop for Blackberry? At last month’s PandoMonthly event, Path founder Dave Morin explicitly said that they’d never develop for Blackberry (Windows Phone is a possibility, however).

CNN MashableCould the world’s largest independent news source be up for grabs? Rumors have been circulating over the past few days about an impending sale by Mashable to one of the most recognized places for mainstream news. The news apparently broke in the midst of the South by Southwest Interactive conference and clearly had everyone talking. The rumored asking price for the largest blog in the world? More than $200 million, but the one question that is clearly on everyone’s mind right now: when will the sale go down?

Earlier reports from Reuters had said that the acquisition could have been announced as early as last Tuesday, but since it’s now Thursday, the news about the deal could have either fell through or may not have been true to begin with. If the deal did go through, hypothetically speaking, Mashable would be the most recent Internet media startups to have been bought by the mainstream media. AOL purchased what may have been the number two largest news source online, the Huffington Post, several years ago, and then turned around and snatched up TechCrunch as well. More and more Internet publications are being acquired as well as their technology. This potential deal with CNN would bring not only emerging and new media technology into the limelight, but also help give CNN more credibility in using technology and its reach.

If the deal were to go through, Mashable’s seven years of existence, would reap a huge payday for the founder and chief executive, Pete Cashmore, and it’s probably been a long time coming. For the longest time, Mr. Cashmore, along with many of the digital world’s best and brightest reporters have helped cover the Internet’s mover and shakers and other relevant industries where the Internet is playing a considerable role, like business and entertainment. No longer known for just being about social media, I’ve been told often by Mashable that they’re about the digital lifestyle…anything where digital or the Internet is pervasive is what they’re about–top ten lists, hilarious viral videos, case studies, etc. And the credibility of the blog with the millions of people who read it everyday is all thanks to the great writers who are and have been contributing content, including folks like Ben Parr, Jolie O’Dell, Jennifer Van Grove, Lance Ulanoff, Christina Warren, Adam Ostrow, Vadim Lavrusik, Charlie White, Josh Catone, Chris Taylor, and a whole slew of their editors and writers on their staff, not to mention the incredible army of contributors eager to help make a name for themselves and their companies.

This purchase would be CNN’s biggest deal since its purchase of tablet publication app, Zite, in 2011. That $20-25 million purchase is allowing CNN to make sure that their content is accessible to folks on their tablet devices in a very appealing format, similar to Flipboard. With Mashable supposedly under its belt, CNN would gain an invaluable resource of not only some of the tech reporting industry’s brightest minds, but also a great venue for talking about technology, which mainstream media just doesn’t seem to have a grasp of quite yet. The Mashable Follow program started more than a year ago, could potentially be integrated with CNN’s iReport service and allow that content to be tied in better. With more and more technology being referenced and affecting the way the world works, having an ace like Mashable in one’s pocket won’t hurt…it will definitely help in understanding the situation and being able to report better.

It should be noted that late last year, Mashable announced at their Media Summit, a brand new platform to help diversify their content. Known as the Mashable Publisher Platform, it would be a new editorially curated syndication experience that would “bring content from select publishers” to the site. One of these partners that the site has is obviously CNN. Every week, someone from Mashable, most likely Mr. Cashmore, would publish a technology post and it would be accessible right from the CNN homepage. The relationship is in place, so why wouldn’t the deal go down? The opportunity to leverage existing content from partners like AppAdvice, Causecast, ClickZ, GeekSugar, International Journalists’ Network, paidContent, Pocketnow, PSFK, and UX Magazine, just screams to CNN the potential for extensive content available right from their site and the amount of eyeballs looking at CNN/Mashable would be enormous.

Time will only tell whether Mashable will sell. CNN looks to be the logical place for them to sell to. But if they decided to go elsewhere, who would have the necessary capacity to purchase them? Would a print company like the New York Times try to snag them? What about Conde Nast? Would General Electric or perhaps providers like Comcast? How about another media empire like NBC? There are a lot of guesses, but there’s no telling what they’re going to do. Until then, it’s back to reading Mashable and waiting to see what happens.

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