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Posts Tagged ‘Acquisitions’

Verizon to acquire Yahoo’s operating business for $4.8 billion

July 31st, 2016 No comments

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo’s operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments.

Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users including 600 million monthly active mobile users through its search, communications (email and blogs) and digital content products. Yahoo also connects advertisers with target audiences through a streamlined advertising technology stack that combines the power of their data, content and technology.

“Just over a year ago we acquired AOL to enhance our strategy of providing a cross-screen connection for consumers, creators and advertisers. The acquisition of Yahoo will put Verizon in a highly competitive position as a top global mobile media company, and help accelerate our revenue stream in digital advertising.”

Lowell McAdam, Verizon Chairman and CEO
Yahoo will be integrated with AOL under Marni Walden, EVP and President of the Product Innovation and New Businesses organization at Verizon.

“Yahoo is a company that has changed the world, and will continue to do so through this combination with Verizon and AOL. The sale of our operating business, which effectively separates our Asian asset equity stakes, is an important step in our plan to unlock shareholder value for Yahoo. This transaction also sets up a great opportunity for Yahoo to build further distribution and accelerate our work in mobile, video, native advertising and social.”

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo
Mayer added, “Yahoo and AOL popularized the Internet, email, search and real-time media. It’s poetic to be joining forces with AOL and Verizon as we enter our next chapter focused on achieving scale on mobile. We have a terrific, loyal, experienced and quality team, and I couldn’t be prouder of our achievements to date, including building our new lines of business to $1.6 billion in GAAP revenue in 2015. I’m excited to extend our momentum through this transaction.”

“Our mission at AOL is to build brands people love, and we will continue to invest in and grow them. Yahoo has been a long-time investor in premium content and created some of the most beloved consumer brands in key categories like sports, news and finance.”

Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL
Under Armstrong, AOL has invested in and grown global premium brands, including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, MAKERS and AOL.com, and market-leading programmatic platforms — including ONE by AOL for both advertisers and publishers.

Armstrong added, “We have enormous respect for what Yahoo has accomplished: this transaction is about unleashing Yahoo’s full potential, building upon our collective synergies, and strengthening and accelerating that growth. Combining Verizon, AOL and Yahoo will create a new powerful competitive rival in mobile media, and an open, scaled alternative offering for advertisers and publishers.”

The addition of Yahoo to Verizon and AOL will create one of the largest portfolios of owned and partnered global brands with extensive distribution capabilities. Combined, AOL and Yahoo will have more than 25 brands in its portfolio for continued investment and growth. Yahoo’s key assets include market-leading premium content brands in major categories including finance, news and sports, as well as one of the most popular email services globally with approximately 225 million monthly active users****. Additional technology assets in the advertising space include Brightroll, a programmatic demand-side platform; Flurry, an independent mobile apps analytics service; and Gemini, a native and search advertising solution.

The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, approval by Yahoo’s shareholders, and regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in Q1 of 2017. Until the closing, Yahoo will continue to operate independently, offering and improving its own products and services for users, advertisers, developers and partners.

Verizon will generally issue cash-settled Verizon RSUs for Yahoo RSUs that are outstanding at the close.

The sale does not include Yahoo’s cash, its shares in Alibaba Group Holdings, its shares in Yahoo Japan, Yahoo’s convertible notes, certain minority investments, and Yahoo’s non-core patents (called the Excalibur portfolio). These assets will continue to be held by Yahoo, which will change its name at closing and become a registered, publicly traded investment company. Yahoo will provide additional information about the investment company at a future date.
Transaction will create a new rival in mobile media technology reaching over 1B users* with an unrivaled roster of the world’s most beloved brands.

Yahoo intends to return substantially all of its net cash to shareholders and will determine and communicate a specific capital return strategy at an appropriate time.

LionTree Advisors, LLC, Allen & Company LLC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Guggenheim Securities, LLC are acting as financial advisors to Verizon. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Covington & Burling LLP and Winston & Strawn LLP are acting as legal advisors to Verizon.

Goldman, Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and PJT Partners are acting as financial advisors to the Yahoo Board and its Strategic Review Committee. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP are acting as legal advisors to Yahoo. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is independent legal advisor to Yahoo’s Strategic Review Committee.

Web.com agrees to acquire Yodle expanding into cloud based local marketing

February 14th, 2016 No comments

Web.com Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:WEB), a leading provider of Internet services and online marketing solutions for small businesses announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Yodle, a leader in local digital marketing, in an all cash transaction.

“The acquisition of Yodle is a natural complement to our strategy at Web.com.  Value added digital marketing solutions are a large and fast growing portion of the market where Web.com has developed a differentiated set of offerings.  This market segment has been a strategic focus for us for several years, and the purchase of Yodle will solidify our position as a leading national provider in this space.  We are pleased to be gaining a company with a strong track record of developing and selling vertically focused solutions that help small businesses attract new business and retain existing customers through cloud based marketing platforms,” said David L. Brown, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Web.com.

Brown added, “To put this transaction in perspective, on a combined basis for 2015, Web.com would have had over $765 million in non-GAAP revenues with 50% of its revenue generated from faster growing value added digital marketing solutions.  We expect the transaction to be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share within the first year as we begin to realize synergies and pay down debt.”

Strategic Fit

Yodle is a leading provider of cloud based local marketing solutions for small businesses with approximately 1,400 employees and over $200 million in annual revenue.  They serve approximately 58,000 subscribers at an average revenue per user (ARPU) of approximately $300 per month.  Combining the Web.com and Yodle franchises will have multiple strategic and financial benefits including:

  • Accelerates Web.com’s position and scale as a leading, national provider of value added digital marketing solutions to small businesses.
  • Improves Web.com’s growth profile by adding higher growth revenue streams.
  • Adds complementary vertical market products and expertise, office automation business applications, and a successful franchise platform serving over 9,000 locations building on Web.com’s ongoing initiatives to expand in these areas.
  • Creates opportunity to up sell and cross sell across a 3.4 million subscriber base.

Financing and Financial Impact

Web.com will acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of Yodle with $300 million paid at close and $20 million and $22 million paid at the first and second anniversary of the closing date, respectively.  The purchase price is subject to customary working capital adjustments.  For 2015, the combined company on a pro-forma basis would have had $767 million in non-GAAP revenue and $189 million in adjusted EBITDA, including full run rate synergies of $30 million.  For 2015, the combined company on a pro-forma basis would have had $751 million in GAAP revenue and $49 million of GAAP operating income, excluding any synergies.

The acquisition will be funded with committed bank debt financing consisting of amendments to the existing credit agreements, a new $200 million term loan as well as approximately $100 million from the current revolving credit facility.  Both the term loans and the revolving credit facility will be priced at LIBOR plus 300 basis points with step downs based on leverage ratios.  On a pro-forma basis as of December 31, 2015, Web.com would have had approximately $756 million of gross debt representing a leverage ratio of four times pro-forma adjusted EBITDA, including full run rate synergies of $30 million, and a weighted average cost of debt of 2.6% at current market rates.  In addition, Web.com expects to realize future cash tax savings from gaining approximately $50 million of net operating losses.  Web.com intends to use its strong free cash flow to pay down debt over time.

Closing

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2016, has been approved by both Web.com’s and Yodle’s board of directors, and is subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act.

Advisors

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, BofA Merrill Lynch and Barclays served as financial advisors and Cooley LLP acted as legal counsel to Web.com.  Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor and Lowenstein Sandler LLP served as legal counsel to Yodle.

Conference Call

Web.com will discuss this transaction in conjunction with its previously announced fourth quarter 2015 financial results and business outlook conference call, scheduled for today, February 11, 2016, at 5:00 p.m. ET.  There will be an accompanying slide presentation which will be available on the Investor Relations page of Web.com’s website  (http://ir.web.com), along with a live webcast and replay of the call. To access the call, dial 877-407-0789 FREE (domestic) or 201-689-8562 (international). A replay of this conference call will be available until February 18, 2016 at 877-870-5176 FREE (domestic) or 858-384-5517 (international). The replay conference ID is 13628646.

About Web.com

Web.com Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:WEB) provides a full range of Internet services to small businesses to help them compete and succeed online. Web.com meets the needs of small businesses anywhere along their lifecycle with affordable, subscription-based solutions including domains, hosting, website design and management, search engine optimization, online marketing campaigns, local sales leads, social media, mobile products and eCommerce solutions. For more information, please visit www.web.com; follow Web.com on Twitter @webdotcom or on Facebook at facebook.com/web.com.

Note to Editors: Web.com is a registered trademark of Web.com Group, Inc.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Some of the measures in this press release are non-GAAP financial measures within the meaning of the SEC Regulation G. Web.com believes presenting non-GAAP measures is useful to investors, because it describes the operating performance of the company, in ways that management views or uses to assess the performance of the company. Web.com’s management uses these non-GAAP measures as important indicators of the company’s past performance and in planning and forecasting performance in future periods. The non-GAAP financial information Web.com presents may not be comparable to similarly-titled financial measures used by other companies, and investors should not consider non-GAAP financial measures in isolation from, or in substitution for, financial information presented in compliance with GAAP. You are encouraged to review the reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures to GAAP financial measures included elsewhere in this press release.

Relative to each of the non-GAAP measures Web.com presents, management further sets forth its rationale as follows:

  • Non-GAAP Revenue. Web.com excludes from non-GAAP revenue the impact of the fair value adjustment to amortized deferred revenue because management believes that excluding such measures helps management and investors better understand Web.com’s revenue trends.
  • Non-GAAP Net Income and Non-GAAP Net Income Per Basic and Diluted Share. Web.com excludes from non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP net income per basic and diluted share amortization of intangibles, asset impairment, income tax provision, fair value adjustment to deferred revenue and deferred expense, restructuring expenses, corporate development expenses, amortization of debt discounts and fees, loss on debt extinguishment, and stock-based compensation, and includes estimated cash income tax payments, because management believes that adjusting for such measures helps management and investors better understand the Company’s operating activities.
  • Adjusted EBITDA. Web.com excludes from adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin depreciation expense, amortization of intangibles, asset impairment, stock-based compensation, fair value adjustments to deferred revenue and deferred expense, corporate development expenses and restructuring expenses, because management believes that excluding such items helps investors better understand the company’s operating activities.  In addition, Yodle excludes from adjusted EBITDA the cost of its cancelled initial public offering.

In respect of the foregoing, Web.com provides the following supplemental information to provide additional context for the use and consideration of the non-GAAP financial measures used elsewhere in this press release:

  • Stock-based compensation. These expenses consist of expenses for employee stock options and employee awards under Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 718-10. While stock-based compensation expense calculated in accordance with ASC 718-10 constitutes an ongoing and recurring expense, such expense is excluded from non-GAAP results because such expense is not used by management to assess the core profitability of the company’s business operations. Web.com further believes these measures are useful to investors in that they allow for greater transparency to certain line items in our financial statements. In addition, when management performs internal comparisons to Web.com’s historical operating results and compares the company’s operating results to the company’s competitors, management excludes this item from various non-GAAP measures.
  • Amortization of intangibles. Web.com incurs amortization of acquired intangibles under ASC 805-10-65. Acquired intangibles primarily consist of customer relationships, customer lists, non-compete agreements, trade names, and developed technology. Web.com expects to amortize for accounting purposes the fair value of the acquired intangibles based on the pattern in which the economic benefits of the intangible assets will be consumed as revenue is generated. Although the intangible assets generate revenue, the company believes the non-GAAP financial measures excluding this item provide meaningful supplemental information regarding the company’s operational performance. In addition, when management performs internal comparisons to Web.com’s historical operating results and compares the company’s operating results to the company’s competitors, management excludes this item from various non-GAAP measures.
  • Depreciation expense. Web.com records depreciation expense associated with its fixed assets. Although its fixed assets generate revenue for Web.com, the item is excluded because management believes certain non-GAAP financial measures excluding this item provide meaningful supplemental information regarding the company’s operational performance. In addition, when management performs internal comparisons to Web.com’s historical operating results and compares the company’s operating results to the company’s competitors, management excludes this item from various non-GAAP measures.
  • Amortization of debt discounts and fees. Web.com incurs amortization expense related to debt discounts and deferred financing fees. The difference between the effective interest expense and the coupon interest expense (i.e. debt discount), as well as, amortized deferred financing fees are excluded because Web.com believes the non-GAAP measures excluding these items provide meaningful supplemental information regarding the company’s operational performance. In addition, when management performs internal comparisons to Web.com’s historical operating results and compares the company’s operating results to the company’s competitors, management excludes this item from various non-GAAP measures.
  • Restructuring expense. Web.com has recorded restructuring expenses and excludes the impact of these expenses from its non-GAAP measures, because such expense is not used by management to assess the core profitability of the company’s business operations.
  • Income tax expense. Due to the magnitude of Web.com’s historical net operating losses and related deferred tax asset, the Company excludes income tax from its non-GAAP measures primarily because it is not indicative of the actual tax to be paid by the company and therefore is not reflective of ongoing operating results. The company believes that excluding this item provides meaningful supplemental information regarding the company’s operational performance and facilitates management’s internal comparisons to the company’s historical operating results and comparisons to the company’s competitors’ operating results. The company includes the estimated tax that the company expects to pay for operations during the periods presented.
  • Fair value adjustment to deferred revenue and deferred expense. Web.com has recorded a fair value adjustment to acquired deferred revenue and deferred expense in accordance with ASC 805-10-65. Web.com excludes the impact of these adjustments from its non-GAAP measures, because doing so results in non-GAAP revenue and non-GAAP net income which are reflective of ongoing operating results and more comparable to historical operating results, since the majority of the company’s revenue is recurring subscription revenue. Excluding the fair value adjustment to deferred revenue and deferred expense therefore facilitates management’s internal comparisons to Web.com’s historical operating results.
  • Corporate development expenses. Web.com incurred expenses relating to acquisitions and the successful integration of acquisitions. Web.com excludes the impact of these expenses from its non-GAAP measures, because such expense is not used by management to assess the core profitability of the company’s business operations.
  • Gains or losses from asset sales or impairment and certain other transactions. Web.com excludes the impact of asset sales or impairment and certain other transactions including debt extinguishments and the sale of equity method investment from its non-GAAP measures because the impact of these items is not considered part of the Company’s ongoing operations.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes certain “forward-looking statements” including, without limitation, statements regarding, acquiring Yodle will be a significant step in achieving scale in the high end of the market, that the acquisition will be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share, the expected benefits and achieve synergies Web.com will receive after the closing of the transaction, and the expectation that the transaction will close in the first quarter of 2016, that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. These statements are sometimes identified by words such as “will,” “expect,” “intends,” “projected,” “estimate,” “opportunities,” or words of similar meaning. As a result of the ultimate outcome of such risks and uncertainties, Web.com’s actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements. These statements are based on Web.com’s current beliefs or expectations, and there are a number of important factors that could cause the actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, risks related to:  the successful offering of the products and services of Web.com; the closing of the acquisition is subject to closing conditions which, of not met, may cause the acquisition not to close; and other risks that may impact Web.com’s business. Other risk factors are set forth under the caption, “Risk Factors,” in Web.com’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2015, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is available on a website maintained by the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov. Web.com expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Web.com Group Inc. And Yodle
Reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP Results
($ in thousands)
(unaudited)
 
Twelve months ended December 31, 2015
      Pro forma
Web.com Yodle Adjustments Combined
Reconciliation of GAAP Revenue to Non-GAAP Revenue
GAAP revenue $ 543,461 $ 207,851 $ $ 751,312
Fair value adjustment to deferred revenue 15,909 15,909
Non-GAAP revenue $ 559,370 $ 207,851 $ $ 767,221
Reconciliation of GAAP operating income to adjusted EBITDA
GAAP operating income $ 61,714 $ (13,051 ) $ $ 48,663
Depreciation and  amortization 56,345 7,497 63,842
Stock based compensation 20,064 4,284 24,348
Restructuring charges 559 31 590
Corporate development 599 599
Deferred initial public offering costs 4,594 4,594
Fair value adjustment to deferred revenue 15,909 15,909
Fair value adjustment to expense 633 633
Synergies 30,000 30,000
Adjusted EBITDA $ 155,823 $ 3,355 $ 30,000 $ 189,178
Pro forma gross debt as of December 31, 2015 $ 456,000 $ $ 300,000 $ 756,000
Pro-forma leverage ratio to 2015 Adjusted EBITDA w/synergies 4.0x

 

3Q Digital to acquire iSearch Media

February 21st, 2014 No comments

3Q Digital, an independent, award-winning digital marketing agency announced its acquisition of iSearch Media, a leading San Francisco Bay Area search engine marketing and analytics agency. The acquisition creates the largest independent digital marketing agency in the region, with more than $300M in annual spend under management.

With the completed acquisition, all of iSearch Media’s existing staff, clients, and brand assets will be fully integrated into 3Q Digital. Additionally, the acquisition strengthens the 3Q Digital executive team by adding: iSearch Media’s Founder and President, Scott Rayden, as Chief Revenue Officer; CEO Maury Domengeaux as Chief Financial Officer; President and CTO Charles Hentrich as Chief Architect; and VP Client Services, Brian Grabowski, as SVP of Media/Account Management.

The combination of 3Q Digital and iSearch Media creates an agency uniquely positioned to supercharge current and future client growth by advancing the data and consumer-focused direction of digital marketing. 3Q Digital — which boasts as its clients many of the world’s largest and fastest-growing companies, now including iSearch Media’s large and vibrant customer base — will be able to provide a fully comprehensive suite of digital marketing services that include SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Mobile, Video, and Design, in addition to a robust Analytics and Consumer Behavior practice.

“With the acquisition of iSearch Media, we are excited to extend our industry-leading digital marketing capabilities to better serve the needs of our performance advertisers and intensify our innovation on their behalf,” said David Rodnitzky, Founder and CEO of 3Q Digital. “iSearch Media’s assets are incredibly complementary to what we have built at 3Q Digital, and our combined team and capabilities will have the perfect marriage of technology, products, and expertise to help define what the future of digital advertising can be — which undeniably has its foundation in search and performance marketing.”

“This acquisition brings together the right combination of expertise and capabilities to position ourselves as an agency built for the future. Our focus on search, data, and consumer behavior is very complementary to 3Q Digital’s suite of digital marketing services, and we are excited to play such an important role in serving the end-to-end needs of today’s sophisticated marketers,” Rayden said. “We have a tremendous amount of respect for 3Q Digital. We share the same goals, values, culture, and passion for the work we do together and for our clients. Together we can create an even better opportunity for our employees and be an agency our clients can continue to grow into, learn from, and expect amazing results from year over year. Our breadth of services, combined with our deep understanding of data and consumer behavior, uniquely positions us to bridge the gap between consumer desire and revenue generating fulfillment for our clients.”
3Q Digital experienced steady growth and expansion in 2013. 3Q Digital works with more than 70 clients that have contributed to the agency’s 70% year-over-year growth; that number of clients will now exceed 110. 3Q Digital has also increased headcount 46% since May 2013 and has recently opened offices in San Francisco and San Diego to complement existing offices in San Mateo and Chicago. With the iSearch Media team incorporated, 3Q Digital’s head count will approach 120.

About 3Q Digital
3Q Digital is a leading digital marketing agency headquartered in Silicon Valley, with offices in downtown San Francisco, San Diego, and Chicago. 3Q Digital has a strong track record of forging deep partnerships with innovative, growth-driven companies through best-in-class customer service (EQ), dynamic and evolving strategies (IQ), and repeatable, proprietary methodology (XQ). Their services span across SEM, Social, Display, SEO, Mobile, and Video advertising.

Originally founded in 2008, 3Q Digital’s senior team is led by David Rodnitzky (Founder & CEO), Will Lin (Co-Founder & Partner), and Dave Yoo (COO). For more information, visit www.3QDIGITAL.com or email info@3QDIGITAL.com.

About iSearch Media, Inc.
iSearch Media, Inc. is a forward-thinking search marketing agency that creates dynamic revenue growth for leading brands across North America. We are an agency that is fueled by data, scaled by technology, and mastered by people. This approach is our guideline for success and is integrated into the fabric of our people, culture, and work. We are an agency that is bonded by a shared belief in the relentless search for the right data that transforms our actions into greater significance. Visit us on the web at: www.isearchmedia.com.
Originally founded in 2006, iSearch Media’s senior team is led by Scott Rayden (Founder / President & CMO), Maury Domengeaux (CEO), Charles Hentrich (CTO), and Brian Grabowski (VP of Client Services).

Yodle acquisition of ProfitFuel ushers new independent local search engine marketing provider

May 24th, 2011 No comments

Great news for ProfitFuel but I have to say that I’m skeptical of Yodle’s long term viability as a business–I’ll give them two more years before they go bust or some silly rather large company acquires them. Caveat though, they can improve if they are focused on the right things. Those right things are customer satisfaction, building endemic traffic, improved client service (shift from aggressive sales to business development), improved optimization and technology automation/development which they can do through either acquisitions or builds or both.

Yodle’s business (not local search) relies on the lack of knowledge of their customers which are predominantly SMBs. It’s not to say that they have succeeded in helping many small businesses but my take is that we should employ better solutions and tactics for SMBs as they are the backbone of the US economy. In the long term, a customer centric solution will provide Yodle improved brand satisfaction and higher margins. Also, for god sakes, to Yodle execs please shift commissions from just acquisition (revenue) and tie it to margins which would force a focus on quality, acquisition and retention. Let’s hope Yodle listens to this bloggers call or has shifted already to be on the customer satisfaction front through quality, innovation, content and technology. By the way, having scoured there NYC offices, and meeting a few folks, I don’t recall ever meeting true online marketers? Hmmm!

Here are a few relatively old feedback from various folks on the web:

Yodle, ReachLocal, Yext – Scams or Just Hard To Please Everybody?
Lawyerist.com: Yodle Takes the Hard Sell to a New Level
DavidPirek.com: Is Yodle a scam?

Also a good attempt to improve search reputation by the Yodle which may have been outsourced: Yodle Reviews.

Speaking of small businesses, I’d love to hear from you folks. Have you used Yodle or any other local search provider? What has been your experience? How have they succeeded? How have they not?

 

Yodle, a leader in local online marketing, announced it has completed a transaction to acquire ProfitFuel, Inc. ProfitFuel, based in Austin, TX, is the largest and fastest growing provider of local search engine optimization (SEO) services to small businesses across the United States. With over 11,000 clients, ProfitFuel has achieved breakout growth serving small businesses that have a moderate marketing budget. Outrank, the company’s main service, is designed to generate inbound phone calls and emails cost effectively by delivering prominent rankings on top search engines for clients.

“ProfitFuel’s dedication to customer results and sales excellence made it a natural fit with Yodle. I look forward to bringing Yodle’s expanded suite of SEM, SEO, Social and Display marketing products to market more quickly in collaboration with ProfitFuel’s world class team.”

Historically, Yodle has focused its local online marketing services on small business advertisers that typically spend larger budgets of $1,000+ monthly and national brand advertisers; Franchise, Multi-location, and Manufacturer/Dealer organizations that advertise locally across hundreds of locations. With the acquisition of ProfitFuel, Yodle now adds a product and a sales force capable of serving a much broader set of clients who have smaller marketing budgets, but who still want the accountability of measuring their marketing performance.

“With ProfitFuel, Yodle is doubling down on its approach of providing a clear ROI to the local advertiser, delivered through a combined 450 person sales and client service team,” said Yodle CEO Court Cunningham. “ProfitFuel’s dedication to customer results and sales excellence made it a natural fit with Yodle. I look forward to bringing Yodle’s expanded suite of SEM, SEO, Social and Display marketing products to market more quickly in collaboration with ProfitFuel’s world class team.”

David Rubin, previously CEO of ProfitFuel, will join Yodle as SVP of Sales. Mr. Rubin has a proven 20 year track record as a successful CEO and sales leader in the technology space. Prior to ProfitFuel, Mr. Rubin was founder and CEO of HomeCity, an online real estate brokerage that pioneered utilizing web-based content to acquire clients. Before founding HomeCity, David held leadership positions at various companies including Intraware as Vice President of New Services Development, BITSource as founder and CEO and Computize as National Sales Director.

“We felt Yodle was the perfect choice to maximize our future potential for our clients, employees and shareholders,” said Mr. Rubin. “We spoke to many companies in the industry and felt that Yodle offered the best set of products, highest caliber talent and the most comprehensive vision to outperform the competition and transform this industry for many years to come.”

Founded in 2000, ProfitFuel has 220 employees and is consistently recognized as one of the best places to work by multiple sources, including Austin Business Journal and Texas Monthly. Yodle will now boast a 300-person sales force and many more talented staffers across marketing operations, client services and corporate departments.

Yodle plans to grow ProfitFuel’s Austin, TX office, making it a major hub, and to fully integrate the company’s infrastructure and technology by year’s end.

About Yodle
Yodle, a leader in local online marketing and named #35 on the INC 500 List of fastest growing private companies in the U.S., connects thousands of local businesses with consumers in a process so simple and cost-effective that business owners can’t imagine any other way to advertise. Yodle has developed an integrated approach to signing up and serving local businesses that are transitioning their marketing budgets online. Yodle is headquartered in New York, NY.

Source: Yodle

Kosmix will be acquired by Walmart in hopes of strengthening social ecommerce

April 19th, 2011 No comments

This latest acquisition by a massive retailer + etailer only confirms the value and potential of social ecommerce and user generated content. The question is, what is it that Walmart has gleaned from their very active social connections to embark on an acquisition such as Kosmix.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Kosmix, underscoring its commitment to social and mobile commerce. Kosmix, based in Mountain View, Calif., has developed a social media technology platform that filters and organizes content in social networks to connect people with real-time information that matters to them.

Kosmix was founded by Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, early pioneers of online shopping, whose first company, Junglee, was acquired by Amazon.com in 1998. The founders and the Kosmix team will operate as part of the newly formed @WalmartLabs and continue to be based in Silicon Valley. Walmart plans to expand the @WalmartLabs team and expects this new group will create technologies and businesses around social and mobile commerce that will support Walmart’s global multi-channel strategy, which integrates the shopping experience between bricks and mortar stores and e-commerce. Walmart operates retail businesses in 15 countries and e-commerce businesses in nine countries.

Kosmix’s innovative technology platform searches and analyzes connections in real-time data streams to deliver highly personalized insights to users. The platform powers TweetBeat, a real-time social media filter for live events with more than five million visits last month; Kosmix.com, a site to discover social content by topic; and RightHealth, one of the top three health and medical information sites by global reach.

“We are expanding our capabilities in today’s rapidly growing social commerce environment,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Walmart’s vice chairman. “Social networking and mobile applications are increasingly becoming a part of our customers’ day-to-day lives globally, influencing how they think about shopping, both online and in retail stores. We are excited to have the Kosmix team join us to accelerate the development of our social and mobile commerce offerings.”

“The world of social media is exploding and for millions of consumers their social connections matter hugely in their daily lives,” said Anand Rajaraman, co-founder of Kosmix. “Our work has focused on developing a social genome platform that captures the connections between people, places, topics, products and events as expressed through social media — be it a feed, a tweet or a post. We are thrilled to join one of the world’s largest companies and combine our work with Walmart’s vast online and offline retail businesses.”

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and the company anticipates it will close during the first half of this year.

About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at 9,000 retail units under 60 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2011 sales of $419 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://www.walmartstores.com/, on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/Walmart, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com/ and http://www.samsclub.com/.

SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.