Adobe Buys CMS Magento for $1.68 billion

Adobe aims to capture a bigger slice of the digital-commerce industry through the Magento acquisition.

Adobe announced that it has entered an agreement to acquire Magento, a well-known eCommerce content management software (CMS). The latter is currently owned by private equity firm Permira Holdings.

The acquisition is going to cost Adobe $1.68 billion and will close in the third quarter of 2018.

Magento is popular among online stores. It offers software to build and run web stores, handle online purchases, shipping and returns. According to Bloomberg, it supports more than $155 billion in gross merchandise volume including Canon and Rosetta Stone. The CMS software offers two versions, the open source version and the paid Commerce version.

With this acquisition, Adobe aims to take on other cloud-based commerce services Salesforce, Oracle and SAP. Adobe’s own Experience Cloud hasn’t generated as much revenue as its creative software products like Lightroom and Photoshop.

There are no details yet as to what changes will come to Magento once Adobe takes the reigns. The latter says it’ll share details when it’s ready to close the deal later this year.


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Sony Buys EMI Music Publishing in a $1.9 Billion Deal

Sony aims to beef up its music catalog with this $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI Music.

(Image Credit: AFP) Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida

Japanese entertainment giant Sony Corp. announced Tuesday it will acquire a majority stake of EMI Music Publishing. The former already holds the rights to about 2.3 million songs.

The deal, amounting to $1.9 billion, is the company’s first major deal under new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida. He noted that the music industry has enjoyed a “resurgence” recently because of music streaming services like Spotify and Apple.

According to the company, it has signed a deal with Abu Dhabi-based investment firm Mubadala who holds 60% holding. With this acquisition, Sony now holds an indirect stake of approximately 90% of EMI Music.

“We are thrilled to bring EMI Music Publishing into the Sony family and maintain our number-one position in the music publishing industry”, said Yoshida. “I believe this acquisition will be a particularly significant milestone for our long-term growth,” he adds.

Sony aims to continue increasing its content business, a strategy that its former CEO Kazuo Hirai had started.

“(The acquisition of EMI) is an investment to beef up our content catalog. Once this deal is complete, we will become one of the biggest music publishing firms in the world.”

EMI holds a “comprehensive and diverse collection of copyrights for music and lyrics” from a “wide variety of iconic and popular songwriters”. This includes Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” which continue to make the company money even after decades. Other popular moneymakers from the brand include Kanye West, Drake, Pink, Fetty Wap and Hozier.

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PayPal To Acquire Payments Startup iZettle for 2.2 Billion

This deal will be the biggest acquisition for PayPal to date.

PayPal recently announced that they will be acquiring European startup iZettle. The latter sells mobile credit card readers and other payment platforms.

The cash deal, which amounts to $2.2 billion, is PayPal’s biggest takeover to date. It will close in the third quarter of 2018.

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman shared his thoughts in a statement.

“iZettle and PayPal are a strategic fit, with a shared mission, values and culture—and complementary product offerings and geographies. In today’s digital world, consumers want to be able to buy when, where and how they want.”

“With nearly half a million merchants on their platform, Jacob de Geer and his team add best-in-class capabilities and talent that will expand PayPal’s market opportunity to be a global one-stop solution for omnichannel commerce.”

Based in Sweden, iZettle has already built a strong presence in Europe and South America. With the takeover, PayPal is able to bring its platform to 11 new countries including France and Germany.

According to Schulman, the acquisition “significantly expands PayPal’s in-store presence, strengthening PayPal’s platform to help millions of small businesses around the world grow.”

iZettle’s CEO, Jacob de Geer, is also very optimistic of the new partnership. He will continue to run the company which he co-founded.

“The combination of iZettle and PayPal will provide tremendous benefits to our merchants who will have access to an even wider range of tools to help them get paid, sell smarter and grow.”


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Web Dominance: Game of Acquisition by Tech Giants Google, Apple, Microsoft

In Nature, the big fish eat the small fish, and web dominance in cyberspace is no different with tech giants taking over partners, competitors, and promising start-ups. The movers and shakers in various industries have many strategies to keep them on top like consolidating, designing new products, going into other services, and expanding capabilities – all of which make them hungry for acquiring both established and fledgling solution providers to either crush emerging competition or expand their core strength without the downtime. According to a ten-year study, Microsoft and Google are the two companies that are most focused on AI and machine learning and buy-outs are in the billions – but nothing close to the $32B purchase of ARM, a U.K. based chip design company by Softbank in 2016 and its $33B purchase of Fortress Investment Group, an asset management company in 2017

In 2012, Google, one of the pack leaders in this PACMAN-like game of M & A spent more than the combined acquisition spending of its biggest competitors using a simple guide, “create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day (like a toothbrush)”. Enroute to Google Home and Alexa, the path was strewn with successes and curveballs.

From 2006-2014, it spent over $24.5B on acquiring YouTube for (only) $1.6B, Waze, Double Click, NestLabs, ITA, AdMob, and other companies that supported Google’s vision of dominating online advertising, mobile ads, home automation technology,  travel, satellite imaging, and GPS Technology. It lucked out on Motorola, an expensive acquisition at $12.5B which was eventually sold to Lenovo. Its acquisition of Deepmind in 2014 entrenched it in the world of machine learning. Although acquisitions slowed down in 2015-2017, Alphabet (Google’s mother company), remained as the company of choice of start-ups. 11% opted for Google to take over their company, 5% favored Facebook while Amazon and Salesforce tied at 4%. From 2017 to the present, Google is definitely eyeing more cloud, AI, AR, and hardware companies – aside from software that could see Google Assistant (already available in 400M devices worldwide) reigning supreme. Proof of this is the acquisition of Kaggle, an online community of 600,000 data scientists known for hosting data science and machine learning competitions. Brainpower on steroids that could push Google Assistant on even more Android phones, iPhones, Google home products, and other electronic equipment and gadgets.

“I used to have this debate with Steve Jobs, and he would always say, ‘You guys are doing too much stuff.’ He did a good job of doing one or two things really well. We’d like to have a bigger impact on the world by doing more things.”

   Larry Page, Google CEO in Business Insider

Speaking of Steve Jobs, Apple uses M & A to strengthen their core products. Focusing on innovativeness and functionality, Apple stays ahead of the game by taking some shortcuts -mainly, buying-out technologies from start-ups for integration into their existing computer and smartphone technologies. However, compared to Google, Apple is definitely more frugal at $6B total M & A spending.  Eleven acquisitions cost Apple between $200M-$500M, and only BEAT Electronics surpassed the billion mark in 2014 at $3B. In fact, NeXT Computer was bought for only $400M and SIRI for what seems to be a paltry sum of $250M. The drive has now shifted from Mac support to mobile and AI. Turi and Lattice Data are focused on AI, PA Semi and Anobit Technologies target chip performance, C3 Tech for mapping, and Authen Tec for Apple Pay.

Typically, Apple completed the buy-out of Workflow, an automation tool for iPad and iPhone and will be hiring its creators. In what seems to be a surprise move wrapped up 2017, by buying Shazam, a London-based company that has gained unicorn status on the strength of its song recognition app. Apple also acquired for less than $200 and according to Computer World, “The startup provides an AI-enabled engine that can take unstructured ‘dark’ data and turn it into meaningful and structured insights.” Something definitely to look forward to as Apple expands its realm from purely consumer electronics to machine learning.

“Overall, these top deals reflect Apple’s strategy evolution, from a focus on the Mac platform (NeXT Computer) in the late 1990s to mobile (PA Semi, Anobit Technologies) and AI (Turi, Lattice Data) more recently.”

– CB InsiGHTS, Dec. 2017

Yahoo, one of the strongest players in the Internet age has been bought by Verizon for  $4.5 billion. Yahoo will be combined with AOL to form a new subsidiary called OATH. It will eventually be on top of 50 media brands affecting about 1billion people globally.

With Google attempting to dominate the machine learning space, Microsoft seems the runaway leader in AI with its focus on AI products and solutions. It has steered away from computer products to generating 2/3 of its almost $30B revenue from its intelligent cloud platforms, consulting services, and enterprise software licenses. True to the Bill Gates vision, Microsoft is attempting to provide AI access to more people. CEO Satya Naella said, “we acquired AI deep learning startup Maluuba, whose work in natural language processing will help advance our strategy to democratize AI for everyone.” Of course one of the biggest news is the acquisition of LinkedIn – the social media of choice of professionals, entrepreneurs, and decision-makers.

The infographic below shows the dominance of certain tech titans running through the intricacies of the web. While the jury is still out on whether this dominance is a good or bad thing, it is clear that all these competition has made life more convenient for users who can do more, play more, and think more artificially.

Watch out for Part 2: Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba


Where does Facebook come in all of these? Mark Zuckerberg has kept “enemies” close to his chest by acquiring them – Friendster, WhatsApp, Instagram and now Oculus, a virtual reality company are now part of the Facebook family.


Credits: Kathnik Reddy, Who Owns Who?

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