Category: M&A

June 10, 2019 Off

Salesforce’s Tableau acquisition is huge, but not the hugest

By Jill T Frey

When you’re talking about 16 billion smackeroos, it’s easy to get lost in the big number. When Salesforce acquired Tableau this morning for $15.7 billion, while it was among the biggest enterprise deals ever, it certainly wasn’t the largest.

There was widespread speculation that when the new tax laws went into effect in 2017, and large tech companies could repatriate large sums of their money stored offshore, we would start to see a wave of M&A activity, and sure enough that’s happened.

As Box CEO Aaron Levie pointed out on Twitter, it also shows that if you can develop a best-of-breed tool that knocks off the existing dominant tool set, you can build a multibillion-dollar company. We have seen this over and over, maybe not $15 billion companies, but substantial companies with multibillion-dollar price tags.

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June 10, 2019 Off

With Tableau and Mulesoft, Salesforce gains full view of enterprise data

By Jill T Frey

Back in the 2010 timeframe, it was common to say that content was king, but after watching Google buy Looker for $2.6 billion last week and Salesforce nab Tableau for $15.7 billion this morning, it’s clear that data has ascended to the throne in a business context.

We have been hearing about Big Data for years, but we’ve probably reached a point in 2019 where the data onslaught is really having an impact on business. If you can find the key data nuggets in the big data pile, it can clearly be a competitive advantage, and companies like Google and Salesforce are pulling out their checkbooks to make sure they are in a position to help you out.

While Google, as a cloud infrastructure vendor, is trying to help companies on its platform and across the cloud understand and visualize all that data, Salesforce as a SaaS vendor might have … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Salesforce is buying data visualization company Tableau for $15.7B in all-stock deal

By Jill T Frey

On the heels of Google buying analytics startup Looker last week for $2.6 billion, Salesforce today announced a huge piece of news in a bid to step up its own work in data visualization and (more generally) tools to help enterprises make sense of the sea of data that they use and amass: Salesforce is buying Tableau for $15.7 billion in an all-stock deal.

The latter is publicly traded and this deal will involve shares of Tableau Class A and Class B common stock getting exchanged for 1.103 shares of Salesforce common stock, the company said, and so the $15.7 billion figure is the enterprise value of the transaction, based on the average price of Salesforce’s shares as of June 7, 2019.

This is a huge jump on Tableau’s last market cap: it was valued at $10.79 billion at close of trading Friday, according to figures on Google Finance. … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Google continues to preach multi-cloud approach with Looker acquisition

By Jill T Frey

When Google announced it was buying Looker yesterday morning for $2.6 billion, you couldn’t blame some of the company’s 1,600 customers if they worried a bit if Looker would continue its multi-cloud approach. But Google Cloud chief Thomas Kurian made clear the company will continue to support an open approach to its latest purchase when it joins the fold later this year.

It’s consistent with the messaging from Google Next, the company’s cloud conference in April. It was looking to portray itself as the more open cloud. It was going to be friendlier to open-source projects, running them directly on Google Cloud. It was going to provide a way to manage your workloads wherever they live, with Anthos.

Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, says that in a multi-cloud world, Looker represented one of the best choices, and that could be why Google went … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

The Stanford connections behind Latin America’s multibillion-dollar startup renaissance

By Jill T Frey

The houses along the tree-lined blocks of Josina Avenue in Palo Alto, with their big back yards, swimming pools and driveways are about as far removed from the snarls of traffic, sputtering diesel engines, and smoggy air of South America’s major metropolises as one can get.

But it was in one of those houses, about a twelve-minute bicycle ride from Stanford University, that the seed was planted for what has become a renaissance in technology entrepreneurship in Latin America.

Back in 2010, when Adeyemi Ajao, Carlo Dapuzzo, and Juan de Antonio were students at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business they could not predict that they would be counted among the vanguard of investors and entrepreneurs transforming Latin America’s startup economy.

At the time, Ajao was negotiating the sale of his first business, the Spanish social networking company, Tuenti, to Telefonica (in what would be a $100 million exit). Carlo Dapuzzo … Read the rest

June 4, 2019 Off

Security stays hot as Imperva grabs Distil Networks

By Jill T Frey

Last week four security companies changed hands. The shopping spree continued this week with CDN company Imperva announcing it was buying bot mitigation startup Distil Networks. The companies did not share the acquisition price.

Imperva CTO Kunal Anand says his company had a narrow bot capability, but was looking to bring a more complete solution to the platform and Distil fit the bill nicely.

“When we looked at all of these different variables, and when we looked at the capabilities and the presence that they have in the market, the leadership with analysts, it felt like a no-brainer for us. And once we got to know the team, Rami, and all the folks at Distil, we thought it would be a great pairing to combine these companies,” he explained.

Distil Networks chief product and strategy officer and co-founder Rami Essaid says the paperwork to seal the deal was … Read the rest

June 4, 2019 Off

Why four security companies just sold for $1.5B

By Jill T Frey

If you’re thinking about starting a technology company, you may want to consider focusing on cybersecurity.

Last week was an incredible M&A whirlwind with four security companies getting acquired over just a three-day period:

  • On Tuesday, FireEye bought Verodin, a five-year-old startup that helps measure the effectiveness of your cybersecurity defenses for $250 million.
  • On Wednesday, Palo Alto Networks entered the fray, buying not one, but two Israeli security startups. The big prize was container security company Twistlock for $410 million. It also snagged serveless security company PureSec. Reports in Israeli media pegged that deal at between $60 and $70 million.
  • If that wasn’t enough for you, private equity firm Insight Partners bought 10-year old threat intelligence company, Recorded Future for $780 million.

That’s more than $1.5 billion changing hands for those of you keeping score at home. If you take a look at the four firms, … Read the rest

May 31, 2019 Off

Amazon confirms acquisition of Sizmek’s ad server

By Jill T Frey

Amazon just announced that it’s acquiring Sizmek’s ad serving and dynamic content optimization businesses.

“Sizmek and Amazon Advertising have many mutual customers, so we know how valued these proven solutions are to their customer base,” Amazon said. “Sizmek has been searching for a buyer for Sizmek Ad Server and Sizmek DCO, and we are both committed to continuing serving their customers at the high standards they’ve come to expect.”

The company added that the Sizmek products will be operated separately from Amazon Advertising “for the time being.”

While Amazon’s ad revenue is tiny compared to its e-commerce business, it’s expanding quickly — the company’s “other” revenue, which is mostly advertising, grew 34% to $2.7 billion in its most recent quarter. The company is increasingly seen as the most likely challenger to Google and Facebook, the two biggest players in online advertising.

Sizmek, meanwhile, declared bankruptcy earlier this year.

BloombergRead the rest

May 31, 2019 Off

Foursquare buys Placed from Snap Inc. on the heels of $150M in new funding

By Jill T Frey

Foursquare just made its first acquisition. The location tech company has acquired Placed from Snap Inc. on the heels of a fresh $150 million investment led by The Raine Group. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Placed founder and CEO David Shim will become president of Foursquare.

Placed is the biggest competitor to Foursquare’s Attribution product, which allows brands to track the physical impact (foot traffic to store) of a digital campaign or ad. Up until now, Placed and Attribution by Foursquare combined have measured more than $3 billion in ad-to-store visits.

Placed launched in 2011 and raised $13.4 million (according to Crunchbase) before being acquired by Snap Inc. in 2017.

As part of the deal with Foursquare, the company’s Attribution product will henceforth be known as Placed powered by Foursquare. The acquisition also means that Placed powered by Foursquare will have more than 450 measureable media … Read the rest

May 26, 2019 Off

The savage genius of SoftBank funding competitors

By Jill T Frey

Venture capitalists aren’t supposed to make their portfolio companies battle to the death. There’s a long-standing but unofficial rule that investors shouldn’t fund multiple competitors in the same space. Conflicts of interest could arise, information about one startup’s strategy could be improperly shared with the other, and the companies could become suspicious of advice provided by their investors. That leads to problems down the line for VCs, as founders may avoid them if they fear the firm might fund their rival down the line.

SoftBank shatters that norm with its juggernaut $100 billion Vision Fund plus its Innovation Fund. The investor hasn’t been shy about funding multiple sides of the same fight.

The problem is that SoftBank’s power distorts the market dynamics. Startups might take exploitative deals from the firm under the threat that they’ll be outspent whoever is willing to take the term sheet. That can hurt employees, especially … Read the rest