Editor’s note: This article was written in collaboration with our partner East-West Digital News, a leading English-language resource on Russian digital industries and related venture activity.
One thing Google apparently forgot to announce yesterday at its annual I/O developer conference (see our list here) is that it has cancelled its contract with Doctor Mobile, the developer of the mobile applications for the Quickoffice service.
Now, less than a year later, Google is shutting down two of its offices, namely in Saint Petersburg (Russia) and Kharkiv (Ukraine), where more than 100 people are working.
The news about the unceremonious contract cancellation, which might result in all those people finding themselves without a job shortly, first emerged on Twitter and on the Russian blogging platform LiveJournal, with employees from both offices complaining about the move.
Anna Zborovskaya, HR manager of Doctor Mobile’s office in Kharkiv, confirmed that Google decided to cancel its contract with the development firm after less than a year in an exchange with East-West Digital News.
“We are evaluating proposals to sell our company, and there are already negotiations underway,” Zborovskaya said, adding that it is possible that the Russian and Ukrainian offices will be sold separately.
It seems that the acquisition of Quickoffice only netted Google a product and a brand. Doctor Mobile, which was actually called Quickoffice prior to the Google purchase, apparently remained independent after the deal, continuing its cooperation with Google on a contractual basis and under a different name.
According to Google’s explanations given to Doctor Mobile, the main reason for the shuttering of the Russian and Ukrainian offices was the online search and advertising juggernaut’s decision to transfer the entirely of Quickoffice’s R&D activities to the United States.
Top image credit: KIMIHIRO HOSHINO for AFP / Getty Images
Facebook is in the final stages of negotiation with crowd-sourced traffic and navigation app maker Waze for an Instagram-sized acquisition of the Israeli company, reports local business publication Calcalist.
According to Calcalist reporter Assaf Gilad, who has a track record of getting things like this right (and then some), Facebook is in ‘advanced talks’ to buy Waze for $800 million to $1 billion in another move to beef up its mobile presence across platforms and geographies.
We should note that this isn’t the first time rumors about a Facebook-Waze acquisition have surfaced.
The Calcalist report is, however, more solid than any of the above.
For those who don’t know, Waze is a social traffic and navigation app that is based on a large community of tens of millions of drivers around the world sharing real-time road info and more to everyone else’s benefit.
The company is said to have roughly 45 million users today, up from 40 million back in February.
In 2012, drivers shared 90 million reports as they drove 6 billion miles (9.66 billion kilometres). Also last year, 65,000 map editors made a total of 500 million map edits and updated Waze’s map to reflect 1.7 million changes on the ground.
All this community-driven editing took place in 110 countries.
Waze has raised $67 million in venture capital to date, from investors like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Li-Ka Shing, Blue Run Ventures, Magma Venture Partners and Vertex Venture Capital.
According to Calcalist, Facebook started talking to Waze about a potential acquisition six months ago and is now close to signing off on the deal.
Waze and Facebook are partners, having first teamed up in October 2012 when Waze launched an updated version of its mobile apps that allowed users to share their drive with their Facebook friends.
Bardin was also spotted on the Facebook parking lot by Bloomberg TV reporter Jon Erlichman about a month ago.
Pretty sure Waze CEO Noam Bardin just drove by in the Facebook parking lot $FB
— Jon Erlichman (@JonErlichman) April 4, 2013
It has also reported ad revenue in the first quarter of $1.25 billion with 30 percent coming from mobile, or $375 million.
The company isn’t shy about its further ambitions when it comes to mobile, and has been making acquisitions left and right to beef up its portfolio of products, hire mobile development and user experience talent and stay ahead of the curve.
Buying out Waze would be a way for Facebook to further arm itself in the battle with Google for Internet dominance.
Image credit: Thinkstock
Originally posted here: Facebook is reportedly in advanced talks to buy social GPS app maker Waze for up to $1 billion
DreamWorks Animation on Wednesday announced it has agreed to acquire YouTube teen network AwesomenessTV, which so far has signed up over 55,000 channels, for approximately $33 million in cash. The media company currently aggregates over 14 million subscribers as well as 800 million video views, and recently extended beyond the mobile platform into television and film.
In addition to the eight-figure price tag, DreamWorks Animation has agreed to make additional contingent cash payments “from time to time” if certain earnings targets are met in 2014 and 2015. The maximum amount is $117 million, showing how important performance will be in this deal.
To increase the chance of those bonuses, AwesomenessTV founder and CEO Brian Robbins plans to stay on and keep growing his company. He will also assume an executive role at the studio to develop a DreamWorks Animation branded digital family channel. Unsurprisingly, Robbins seems excited about the move: “The incredible opportunity to take all the resources of this amazing global brand with beloved character franchises and create a dedicated family channel has extraordinary potential – I can’t wait to get started.”
This looks like it will be a very quick transaction. DreamWorks Animation says it expects it will be completed as soon as this month.
“Awesomeness TV is one of the fastest growing content channels on the Internet today and our acquisition of this groundbreaking venture will bring incredible momentum to our digital strategy,” DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement. “Brian Robbins has an extraordinary track record in creating family content both for traditional and new platforms and his expertise in the TV arena will be invaluable as we grow our presence in that space.”
While AwesomenessTV’s main target audience consists of teenagers, its videos span a wide range of content. Categories include beauty, comedy, music, entertainment, and sports.
News of the acquisition first leaked out last night, via “people familiar with the proposed transaction” cited by AllThingsD. That report noted YouTube featured Robbins prominently during its “brandcast” presentation for advertisers a year ago.
Top Image Credit: David McNew/Getty Images
See the original post here: DreamWorks Animation acquires teen-targeted YouTube network AwesomenessTV for $33m
Ecomom, the Las Vegas-based e-commerce site for eco-friendly kids’ products founded by the late Jody Sherman, wound down its operations due to financial insolvency soon after Sherman’s death at the age of 47 in January 2013.
But there is a silver lining of sorts: Today it was announced that Ecomom’s assets have been acquired has been acquired by GreenCupboards, a Spokane, Washington-based online retailer. Also, GreenCupboards has rebranded itself as Etailz, which will be an umbrella under which GreenCuboards.com and Ecomom operate. The Ecomom.com site, which was shut down a couple months ago, will reopen for business in early summer.
In a phone interview today, Etailz’ CEO Josh Neblett declined to discuss exactly how much his company paid for Ecomom, but he did disclose that the deal includes about $1 million worth of inventory in addition to intellectual property, trademarks, domain names, and the like. Ecomom’s staff had already been laid off prior to the deal, so no talent is included in the acquisition, but Neblett did not rule out bringing some of them on-board if they were interested in moving from Vegas to Spokane.
He added that the consolidation is a natural fit in many ways. “Ecomom launched around the same time that we launched back in 2008, and it was a company we had always tracked closely. With the sudden and tragic demise of the company, I decided to get in touch with Ecomom’s investors and employees. I found out that they were going through this ABC, or Assignment for the Benefit of the Creditors, process, and fortunately we ended up working something out.”
With just under $300,000 in seed funding which was raised just before its 2008 launch, GreenCupboards has grown organically over the past 4.5 years to a staff of 60. Neblett says that should increase by a third within the next few months, as Etailz is actively hiring more employees. The company, which made $13 million last year and expects sales to double this year, is profitable.
Here is the press release announcing the sale.
GreenCupboards acquires ecomom
SPOKANE, Wash., April 24, 2013 – GreenCupboards, an online retailer of more than 25,000 environmentally friendly products for homes and businesses, today announced it has acquired the assets of ecomom, an online eco-friendly retailer serving the rapidly growing niche of baby, kids and moms. Today, GreenCupboards also announced that it has changed its corporate name to etailz, Inc. etailz will serve as the parent company of GreenCupboards and ecomom.
“While etailz has long admired the vision and mission of ecomom and was saddened by the series of events that led to the close of ecomom, we are pleased to have the opportunity to continue the work conceived and inspired by ecomom’s dedicated founders and employees,” said etailz Co-founder and CEO Josh Neblett. “Innovation and long-term success are central to etailz’s strategy. Changing our corporate name to etailz allows us to operate individual businesses, such as GreenCupboards and ecomom, as well as grow our etailz family of brands over time.”
Upon the acquisition, etailz owns all ecomom IP including trademarks, domain names, social media, customer lists and inventory. etailz will re-open ecomom at http://www.ecomom.com in early summer of 2013. Financial terms of the acquisition are not disclosed.
and here is the announcement as it appears on the Ecomom website:
“Today I am delighted to share with you the exciting news that ecomom will be reopening in early summer of 2013. In late March, ecomom was acquiried by etailz, Inc., operator of GreenCupboards.com, a website dedicated to offering the widest array of thoroughly vetted eco-friendly products for you and your home.
Over the past 5 years, etailz has worked hard to create a place where families can shop knowing that the products we offer will be safe for their home and the environment. GreenCupboards.com and ecomom shared a similar vision and etailz has long admired the mission of ecomom. We are pleased to have the opportunity to continue the work inspired by ecomom’s dedicated founders and employees.
Our enthusiasm for this news is matched by our commitment to continue growing the ecomom brand. Over the coming weeks, the team at etailz will be working hard to get ecomom back online. While you wait for the reopening of ecomom, our other website, GreenCupboards.com, is ready to help meet your need for high-quality, eco-friendly products. GreenCupboards.com offers over 25,000 products from the best eco-friendly brands and our support team is available to help answer any questions you may have.
We look forward to being able to serve you and continue the mission of ecomom.
CEO of etailz, Inc.”
Yahoo just released its earnings report for the first quarter of 2013, with better-than-expected (non-GAAP) earnings of $420 million, or 38 cents per share. Revenue (excluding traffic acquisition costs) was flat compared to last year, at $1.07 billion.
Analysts has predicted that the company would report revenue of $1.1 billion and 24 cents EPS. Wall Street normally evaluates Yahoo on an ex-TAC basis — including traffic acquisition costs, revenue was $1.14 billion, down 7 percent from last year.
This is Marissa Mayer’s third quarter as CEO of the company — her leadership is seen as crucial for turning the company around. During the last earnings call, Mayer said her big goals for Yahoo included a better user interface, improved international reach, and broader demographics.
“I’m pleased with Yahoo!’s performance in the first quarter,” Mayer said in the earnings release. “We saw continued stability in our business, strengthened our team, and started the year with fast execution against our products and partnerships. We are moving quickly to roll out beautifully designed, more intuitive experiences for our users. I’m confident that the improvements we’re making to our products will set up the Company for long-term growth.”
Yahoo had a pretty active quarter. It unveiled a more personal, interactive version of its homepage in February. On the advertising front, it announced a non-exclusive display partnership with Google. And it acquired Snip.it, Alike, Jybe, and made its biggest splash by announcing the acquisition of mobile news startup Summly for a reported $30 million.
Originally posted here: Yahoo Q1 Beats Analysts With Earnings Per Share Of 38 Cents, (Ex-TAC) Revenue Flat At $1.07B