M&A

The Department of Justice isn’t done fighting the AT&T-Time Warner merger

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed to appeal a federal judge’s decision to approve AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. Back when he was campaigning for the presidency, Donald Trump said his administration would block the deal, and indeed, the DOJ sued to stop the merger, arguing it would hurt competition. Last month, however, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon ruled that the deal could move forward without conditions. He said from the bench, “The court has now spoken. … The defendants have won” — and the deal closed later that week. In fact, we’re already starting to see some of the fallout, with AT&T’s reported plans for Time Warner-owned HBO leading to a flurry of worried headlines in just the past couple days. The deal also seemed to set the stage for even more conso...

Netskope nabs Sift Security to enhance infrastructure cloud security

Netskope, a company that focuses on security in the cloud, announced today it has acquired Sift Security, a startup launched in 2014 to help secure cloud infrastructure services like Amazon, Microsoft and Google using machine learning. The company did not share terms of the deal, but Sift’s 10 technical employees will become part of Netskope’s 500+ person team and Sift CEO Neil King will lead the Netskope IaaS product management team moving forward. While Netskope provides comprehensive cloud and website security from a single interface, Sift uses machine learning to provide breach detection and automated response for Infrastructure as a Service environments, even across multiple clouds. Netskope founder and CEO Sanjay Beri says together the two companies can offer more security visibility...

Twitter ‘smytes’ customers

Twitter today announced it was acquiring the “trust and safety as a service” startup Smyte to help it better address issues related to online abuse, harassment, spam, and security on its platform. But it also decided to immediately shut down access to Smyte’s API without warning, leaving Smyte’s existing customers no time to transition to a new service provider. The change left Smyte’s current customer base stranded, with production issues related to the safety of their own platforms. Needless to say, many were not happy about this situation and took to Twitter to register their complaints. According to Smyte’s website, its clients included Indiegogo, GoFundMe, npm, Musical.ly, TaskRabbit, Meetup, OLX, ThredUp, YouNow, 99 Designs, Carousell, and Zendesk – big name brands that used Smyte’s ...

NXP-Qualcomm $44b deal to clear China as Trump authorizes $50b tariffs

The U.S.-China trade battle enters an important new phase. The South China Morning Post is reporting that China’s Ministry of Commerce will clear Qualcomm’s pending $44 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors. One independent source also conveyed the same news to TechCrunch, although there has been no official word from Qualcomm, NXP, or China at time of publication. That acquisition was expected to close months ago, but the Chinese government repeatedly delayed its assent to the deal as part of its on-going fight with the Trump administration over the future of bilateral trade. China’s ministry remained the last competition authority worldwide pending to approve the deal, and presumably it will close rapidly now that antitrust review has been completed. The news of the approval broke ju...

Court approves merger of AT&T and Time Warner

United States District Court Judge Richard J. Leon has ruled in favor of AT&T in the government’s antitrust suit to block AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner . That decision matches word on the street over the past few weeks, and delivers a stern rebuke to the Trump administration, which had opposed the deal from its earliest days. The decision was made following the close of markets in New York, and after-hours trading was muted to the decision. In light of today’s decision, Comcast, which has been eyeing its own content creator takeover of 21st Century Fox, will likely move forward with a bid as early as tomorrow. In October 2016, AT&T announced its plan to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion, and a total of $108 billion with debt. The DOJ moved to block the merger in M...

The largest buys of tech’s Big Five: a look at M&A deals

In startup land, the mandate is to get bought, go public or die trying. And, as far as getting bought goes, one of tech’s Big Five could be a desirable acquirer. They have a lot of weight to throw around. Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft account for a titanic amount of market value — close to $3.9 trillion at time of writing. At least, that’s according to Crunchbase News’s dashboard of notable tech stocks. When challenged by one another, these hulking behemoths of the tech sector more often fight than flee. And when challenged by a scrappy upstart, it is likely that they will gobble up the talent, technology and business of any aspiring competitor. It’s the circle of life. And it’s those acquisitions we’re going to look at here. Taken together,...

US startups off to a strong M&A run in 2018

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Scaling startups are setting up secondary hubs in these cities Here is where CEOs of heavily funded startups went to school With Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub this week, we can now decisively declare a trend: 2018 is shaping up as a darn good year for U.S. venture-backed M&A. So far this year, acquirers have spent just over $20 billion in disclosed-price purchases of U.S. VC-funded companies, according to Crunchbase data. That’s about 80 percent of the 2017 full-year total, which is pretty impressive, considering we’re barely five months into 2018. If one included unreported purchase prices, the totals would be quite a bit higher. Fewer than 20 percent of acquisitions in our data set came with reported prices.1 ...

Workday acquires Rallyteam to fuel machine learning efforts

Sometimes you acquire a company for the assets and sometimes you do it for the talent. Today Workday announced it was buying Rallyteam, a San Francisco startup that helps companies keep talented employees by matching them with more challenging opportunities in-house. The companies did not share the purchase price or the number of Rallyteam employees who would be joining Workday . In this case, Workday appears to be acquiring the talent. It wants to take the Rallyteam team and incorporate it into the company’s engineering unit to beef up its machine learning efforts, while taking advantage of the expertise it has built up over the years connecting employees with interesting internal projects. “With Rallyteam, we gain incredible team members who created a talent mobility platform that uses m...

Google acquires Cask Data to beef up its tools for building and running big data analytics

Google is pushing hard on its efforts to build out a deeper enterprise business around Google Cloud, which continues to trail behind Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure when it comes to revenues and usage among organizations. In the latest development, Google has picked up Cask Data, a Palo Alto startup that specializes in building solutions to run big data analytics services based on Hadoop. The news comes less than a week after Google announced the acquisition of Velostrata, a startup from Israel that helps businesses migrate and run data, apps and other IT functions in the cloud and across hybrid environments. The Cask Data news was quietly made public by the co-founders of the startup, Jonathan Gray and Nitin Motgi, in a blog post on May 14, which also confirmed that the company would c...

SmugMug acquires Flickr

Two photo-sharing services are teaming up, as SmugMug buys Flickr from Verizon’s digital media subsidiary Oath. USA Today broke the news and interviewed SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill, who said he hopes to revitalize Flickr . At the same time, he said he’s still figuring out his actual plans: “It sounds silly for the CEO to not to totally know what he’s going to do, but we haven’t built SmugMug on a master plan either. We try to listen to our customers and when enough of them ask for something that’s important to them or to the community, we go and build it.” Flickr was founded in 2004 and sold to Yahoo a year later. Yahoo, in turn, was acquired by Verizon, which brought it together with AOL to create a new subsidiary called Oath. Over the past couple of months, Oath (which owns TechCrunch) has...

Square acquires corporate catering startup Zesty

Square has acquired elements of corporate catering startup Zesty . Square, which already owns on-demand food delivery service Caviar, plans to use Zesty’s assets to strengthen Caviar’s corporate ordering business, Caviar for Teams. Neither company disclosed financial terms of the deal, but the plan is for Caviar and Zesty to operate independently in the short term. “Restaurants turn to Caviar to reach more diners and grow their businesses,” Square Caviar Lead Gokul Rajaram said in a press release. “Expanding our corporate catering product with Zesty enables us to offer our restaurant partners another way to boost sales through higher-margin, large-format catering orders,” said Rajaram, Caviar Lead at Square. “Caviar is thriving, and we’re excited to supercharge its success with Zesty and d...

Foxconn buys peripheral maker Belkin for $866M

Foxconn, best known for manufacturing practically everything in the world, has just announced the purchase of Belkin, the PC peripherals company, for $866 million in cash. That certainly makes it one of the larger consumer electronics acquisitions in recent memory. You probably know Belkin for its various lines of accessories, peripherals, and assorted consumer electronics; Linksys, surely the most recognizable router brand, is a subsidiary. Wemo and Phyn might also ring a bell. The purchase is likely aimed at giving Foxconn a foothold of its own in the peripherals and networked devices market. Belkin’s CEO and founder (35 years on), Chet Pipkin, will continue to operate the company as a wholly owned subsidiary and may join Foxconn’s management team. No indication was given that Belkin’s c...