Category Archives: Acquisitions

Why Yahoo should stay away from Google

Yahoo is exploring several options for the company’s future, mainly in order to maximize the stock value now that Microsoft wants to acquire them. A merge with AOL/Time Warner is mentioned as one of the alternatives. However, a couple of days ago Yahoo announced that they will start a test of Google’s AdSense for Search Service. I hope this is just a way to demonstrate to the shareholders that they can make more money per user if they have a better ad-network, and not a serious consideration to join Google’s. I’m afraid that the latter is the case however. I mean, they already know that Google’s ad network has a better coverage and relevancy, so why do this test if you’re not seriously considering to outsource the search engine advertising to Google?

So why do I say I’m afraid that Yahoo will join Google’s Ad platform? Simple. That step would give Google a near-total monopoly over the search market. That’s not good for publishers and for the advertisers. It might even be dangerous since Google’s Adwords will then be the only place to go for search engine advertising. Given the fact that the pricing of Adwords is based on an auction-model, I think Google is the only party who will benefit. But, apart from the danger for the online advertising industry, this step would make Yahoo extremely dependent on Google.

Microsoft’s response to the Yahoo/Google deal is a quite logical one:

“Any definitive agreement between Yahoo! and Google would consolidate over 90% of the search advertising market in Google’s hands. This would make the market far less competitive, in sharp contrast to our own proposal to acquire Yahoo! We will assess closely all of our options. Our proposal remains the only alternative put forward that offers Yahoo! shareholders full and fair value for their shares, gives every shareholder a vote on the future of the company, and enhances choice for content creators, advertisers, and consumers.”

It’s clearly bothering Microsoft that they are still such a tiny player in the web search business. Despite the huge investments they made in search technology in the last few years, their US marketshare has decreased from 16.3% in 2005 to 11.2% by August 2007. That’s not very promising. In my opinion they seriously screwed up by renaming all of their online services to ‘something’ Live. Their branding strategy is a mess, and now they want to add Yahoo! to their portfolio as well. I think the Yahoo management understands that a merge with Microsoft would kill the company culture, but, it might be difficult to explain that to the shareholders who will receive $$$ when MS acquires Yahoo.

It’s a tough one, but I would definitely stay away from both Google and Microsoft. A merge with AOL or News Corp. might be an interesting alternative. To be continued (I guess)…

Interesting acquisition: Nokia buys Navteq

NokiaA very interesting acquisition today: Nokia acquired map-provider Navteq for $8.1 billion. This is especially interesting since Navteq is one of the major suppliers of digital maps, they provide mapping data to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Another supplier of mapping-data, Tele Atlas, was acquired by TomTom earlier this year.

Personally I expected Google to buy Navteq. For the last couple of months, Google has made clear that they expect a lot of their mapping service ( I can’t imagine that they like the idea of being dependent on nokia. However, another company will even have a worse feeling about this acquisition: Garmin. Garmin currently gets their data from Navteq, that however means that they are now a customer of a big competitor (nokia). Switching to Tele Atlas isn’t much better since that company is owned by another competitor, TomTom. That leaves them in a difficult situation.

For the customers however, this is only good news. I expect nokia to enter the navigation-market with some very interesting products. Given nokia’s background, an internet-connected navigation device cannot be far away.

Doubleclick acquired by Google

Wow, that’s what I call a major acquisition in advertising world: Google has bought DoubleClick for $3.1 billion (in cash). That’s 10x the yearly revenue of DoubleClick! This has just been confirmed on the Google blog.

This is immediatly the biggest acquisition of Google (almost twice as much as they paid for YouTube). What could be the reason? I quote from the Google Blog:

This new partnership represents a tremendous opportunity for us at Google to broaden and deepen our inventory of available ads and to better serve both our publishers and users. Together, Google and DoubleClick will empower agencies, advertisers, and publishers to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, which will, in turn, provide a better experience for our users.

Personally, I think the acquistion mainly comes from a strategic point of view. Google must have been really frightened that Microsoft would gain a big marketshare by buying DoubleClick (they obviously outbidded MS).

I wonder how this will influence the current adsense / adwords platform. Google will now also have access to DoubleClicks customers, will we see higher or lower CPC’s?

Google has officially bought YouTube!

GoogtubeIt’s official now! Google has bought YouTube for $1.65 billion (in stock)!

This is definitively the biggest and probably the most important acquirement in the (young) history of Google. It is now Googles turn to show how they will make YouTube profitable.
See Google’s press releases here or here.

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