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Acquisitions in tech have a checkered history • Tech.pinions
Jan Dawson, following up on the awful Bloomberg article from yesterday which suggested Apple should drop nine figures on, well, <em>something</em>:
<p>Some companies seem to fare particularly poorly. Microsoft has three of the four big failures, with Alphabet having the other. But it’s also done well with some deals and all the big failures happened during the Steve Ballmer era rather than under new CEO Satya Nadella. Alphabet’s deals have mostly done well, Facebook’s are a mixed bag, and Samsung’s only big acquisition looks smart on paper but hasn’t even closed yet. Apple has only the one pretty successful acquisition on the list.

The reality is M&A is a risky business, with one of the biggest challenges being cultural fit. That’s particularly challenging at Apple because it sees its culture as both unique and uniquely important. That means smaller deals for technology and tight-knit teams of people are a better fit than massive established businesses with large workforces. For other companies with more generic engineering and software cultures, such acquisitions may be easier.

But it’s also fair to say the biggest failures include several attempts to use big acquisitions as levers for massive strategic shifts, while the most successful acquisitions have often been logical extensions of existing businesses. Skype, Nokia, and aQuantive at Microsoft all fell into the former category, for example, whereas Zappos at Amazon, YouTube and DoubleClick at Google, and Instagram at Facebook were all fairly adjacent businesses. Big strategic shifts have rarely been enabled by taking on entirely new and different businesses – those are often best established through organic change or technology acquisitions which enable broader changes.
To me, it looks like the smartest companies in this group understand this and are very discerning about the acquisitions they make.</p>
tech  acquisition 
9 days ago by charlesarthur
Apple struggles to make big deals, hampering strategy shifts • Bloomberg
Alex Webb and Alex Sherman:
<p>“The first step in M&A is having some conviction about what it is you want to do,” said Eric Risley, managing partner at Architect Partners LLC who has negotiated deals with Apple. “Apple probably more than most feels that they’re very capable of building things" rather than buying them, he added. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

Apple’s biggest deal in its 41-year history was the $3bn purchase Beats Electronics in 2014, followed by the $400m acquisition of NeXT Computer in 1996. In Facebook Inc.’s 13 years, it has made three acquisitions of at least $1bn, including its $22bn WhatsApp purchase. Google, founded in 1998, has done four such deals, while Microsoft has completed at least 10, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Instead of closing big deals, Cook has so far focused on growing Apple’s services businesses, including Apple Music, the App Store and iCloud. That’s beginning to work, with the company recently forecasting that annual revenue from those operations will top $50bn by 2021.

But even here, some analysts and investors argue for a big acquisition, especially in online video streaming. Apple has started distributing videos through the Music service, and pooling other providers’ video in its mobile TV app, but it has no service akin to Netflix or Inc.’s Prime Video.

On Friday, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi said Apple needs at least one big acquisition in online video. To reach its $50bn target, the company must find an extra $13 billion in services revenue over the next four years - beyond what it can generate itself. Netflix Inc. ended 2016 with sales of less than $9bn, so even buying that business may not be enough, the analyst said.</p>

This is frantic talk. Apple makes lots of small acquisitions, and in general it makes them work. Google's multi-billion acquisitions - YouTube, DoubleClick, Motorola (later sold), Nest - have a 50-50 hit rate; it's the smaller ones, including Android and DeepMind, which arguably add value. (Though YouTube has been as crucial as Android.) Facebook's acquisitions - Oculus, WhatsApp, Instagram - are roughly 2-for-3 (we don't know how well Instagram converts; WhatsApp was strategic to block Google dominating messaging). Apple is making Beats work, but the idea it should rush off into a huge acquisition which would dilute its carefully built culture is the sort of move that kills companies slowly, by a sort of poisoning of the well.
apple  acquisition 
10 days ago by charlesarthur
Productise | How to turn great Technology into great Products
Hey there~2017 新年第一期增长黑客周报如期而至,预祝大家新一年里事业跃进,增长陡峭!前两周因为春节和家中原因暂停更新,不过我猜各位也忙到没空看吧(不要给偷懒找借口啊喂)。本期第一篇文章就很有逼格地推荐全英文深度稿,讲述如何将技术转化为切实可行的产品。作者提到了产品的三个阶段(onboarding, core task completion and administration),以及不同阶段如何提升各个关键业务增长点的思路,旁征博引。
GrowthModel  GrowthTeam  WowMoment  monetization  Acquisition 
20 days ago by xdash
Razer Announces Acquisition Of Nextbit, Suggests Mobile Move
Ever heard of Nextbit? It’s a company founded in 2013 by former Android programmers and managed to snag former HTC design lead Scott Croyle in 2014. So far they have only launched one smartphone: The Robin. This phone is impressive enough to have garnered the attention of Razer, who today announced a total acquisition of...

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The post Razer Announces Acquisition Of Nextbit, Suggests Mobile Move appeared first on VR-Zone.
Razer  Announces  Acquisition  Of  Nextbit  Suggests  Mobile  Move 
26 days ago by vrzone
Google has acquired most of Twitter’s developer products, including Fabric and Crashlytics • Recode
Kurt Wagner and Tess Townsend:
<p>Google is acquiring Twitter’s suite of developer products, including its developer suite Fabric which includes the crash reporting service Crashlytics. Twitter acquired Crashlytics back in 2013.

The two companies are not sharing deal terms, but every member of Twitter’s Fabric team has been offered a job at Google. One source estimated the team at around 60 employees.

Fabric is the collection of products that Twitter rolled out 18 months ago to try and encourage mobile app developers to integrate more closely with Twitter’s core app.

But when the company announced another round of layoffs back in October, it also added that it would be refocusing the company around what employees call “Bluebird,” the main Twitter app. This was less than a month after Twitter decided to forgo its annual developer conference, Flight, a flag that Twitter was trying to figure out what to do with Fabric amid all the changes.

In the fall, Twitter started exploring options to offload its fringe businesses, like Fabric and Vine, the latter of which has since been shut down. At least one other company, Microsoft, showed some interest in acquiring Fabric, according to multiple sources.</p>

Twitter has been spending far too much on development - that's part of why it's in the red - so offloading this chunk makes financial sense. It looks bad, but it's necessary.
google  twitter  fabric  acquisition 
5 weeks ago by charlesarthur
Once mocked, Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram was a stroke of genius – BGR
In April of 2012, Facebook shocked the tech world when it acquired Instagram for $1 billion. At the time, the acquisition raised quite a few eyebrows, along with many more questions than answers.
business  facebook  photos  instagram  acquisition  decisions  lucky  plants 
5 weeks ago by xer0x
Subtle Mid-Stage Startup Pitfalls - Jessica Livingston
one meeting is enough to get the idea into your head that getting bought is a possibility. Once you let yourself think about the possibility of getting a big chunk of money and not bearing the burden of running a company anymore, you may start to lean toward selling.

Once this happens in your mind, you have no leverage and that's when they turn the screws on you. If you get an offer at all, you’ll probably end up agreeing to a much lower price than you'd ever imagined. Much of that price will be tied up in some backloaded compensation structure where you’re required to work at the big company for the next 4 years. By the way, most founders I know who get acquired or acqui-hired end up leaving well before their time is up. My advice is to assume that you'll never see any money except the part you get up front.

M&A can also be dangerous for later stage companies. Even if you can get a good financial deal, don't be under the illusion that your acquisition will be one of those rare ones where you will go along working independently from the acquirer yet benefitting from its resources, brand and distribution channels. You have to assume that the acquirer will screw up everything.

Sorry if I sound jaded, but you need to assume the worst when dealing with M&A. I recommend reading Justin Kan's "Founder's Guide to Selling Your Company"—it's a very good overview of what to expect. And Paul Graham's "Don’t Talk to Corp Dev". 
acquisition  acquihire  startup  advice  lessonslearned  hiring  recruiting 
5 weeks ago by yangmeyer
Operation  zhihu  Acquisition  Activation 
5 weeks ago by xdash

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