Tag: acquisition

Lenovo eyes up MSI business unit

Lenovo shopfrontReports suggested that Chinese manufacturer Lenovo is interested in buying Taiwanese company MSI’s gaming notebook business.

MSI has officially denied the rumour.

However, according to Taiwanese wire Digitimes, sources making components for both companies believe the story has got legs.

Lenovo has expanded greatly over the last few years, first buying IBM’s notebook unit and last year taking over IBM’s X86 server business too. It’s also bought NEC’s PC business, and German company Medion, as well as Motorola’s Mobility business from Google.

According to Digitimes, MSI is still in negotiations with Lenovo and the deal is not on the rocks.

MSI has had some success in selling gaming norebooks and that’s prompted a number of competitors to take steps to enter the market. There are far better margins in gaming notebooks than in bog standard laptops.

India freezes Nokia assets over alleged unpaid tax

Indian tax authorities have jumped on Nokia, freezing some of the company’s assets over an allegedly unpaid tax bill.

The Indian Income Tax Department, the Wall Street Journal reports, wants to make sure Nokia has enough cash in the bank to pay roughly 39.97 billion rupees – a hefty, but not unmanageable, $365 million.

If the tax bill isn’t sorted out, the whole palaver could impact Nokia’s sale of its handset business to Microsoft. It has a manufacturing plant in the southern state of India Nadu, which happens to be one of its biggest. Some of the frozen assets were included in Microsoft’s $7 billion Nokia buyout.

The company still sells in the country at a high volume, and it is just behind China in market value for Nokia.

But Nokia spokesperson Brett Young told the WSJ he was quietly confident. “Nokia has sufficient assets in India to meet its tax obligations, details of which will be shared with the tax authorities to allay any concerns they may have”. 

“We went to court, and got a ruling in our favour on Thursday, the bank accounts were unfrozen,” Young sort-of explained.

It’s unlikely the assets will heavily impact on the deal but they could complicate it, and potentially put off other top investors from India, analysts warn. But the Indian state is steadfast in going after perceived tax evasions from foreign companies, including Vodafone, Cadbury, Royal Dutch Shell, General Electric, and BMW AG.

IBM splashes cash on research in Taipei, Moscow

IBM is investing in research across the globe, announcing two new ventures in Russia and Taiwan.

Over in Taipei the company has launched a joint research project with Taiwan’s Academia Sinica and National Taiwan University. It’s looking more into integrated circuit design, with hopes that this technology will one day appear in the medical field.  

In an open collaborative project, the trio of institutes will look specifically at developing a type of integrated circuit called optimised field programmable gate arrays (FPGA). IBM hopes to eventually use this for cancer radiotherapy and tumour detection and claims that if all goes ahead smoothly the course of cancer treatments will be shortened.

To come up with a suitable technology IBM has said it will integrate resources from its research centre in Austin and its Power Systems research centres.

Over in Russia, the company and Bauman Moscow State Technical University (BMSTU) announced a Smarter Cities Development and Education Centre, which will be located on the university’s Moscow campus.

According to IBM, the centre will be home to a program giving students the chance to explore and apply IBM’s latest technologies to improve the management of urban infrastructure and support the development of smarter cities.

It has been developed in line with the Russian government’s priorities for the modernisation and technological development of urban centres across the country.

As a result of the project students are able to explore how technologies such as analytics software and mobile collaboration tools can help to integrate city systems such as water, traffic and public safety. They will also be able to research into how IBM’s IOC feature can be integrated with data from Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System, which already spans some 33 cities in Russia, to enable officials to better monitor and respond to city incidents.

*Yesterday the company announced that it had signed a deal to buy data analytics company Vivisimo for an undisclosed fee. It said that the acquisition would enable it to move further into the data analytics field and help companies make better decisions based on insights provided by the software.  

Instagram turned over to enormous data mining operation

Facebook’s purchase of Instagram could have a huge impact on the photo sharing app and users “should be worried”, according to one analyst.

Mark Zuckerberg decided to get his hands on Instagram, which allows users to apply filters to pictures and post them for their followers to see. There is also the option to post these pictures onto Facebook and Twitter although this currently isn’t mandatory.

Zuckerberg offered up a cool $1 billion  – the largest ever acquisition for Facebook – for Instagram, which currently doesn’t make a profit.

Following the announcement, Instagram fans began to panic that their data and posts would no longer be private, with many looking at other free apps, including Streamzoo, to migrate to.

According to industry experts they may be justified in doing so.

Clive Longbottom, Quocirca analyst, told TechEye: “With Facebook’s track record on saying one thing around security and then either doing a different thing or changing its mind on a regular basis, I think that Instagram users should be worried.  

“It is very likely that Facebook will fully embrace Instagram, using any information it can gain from the system to further build on its own extensive intelligence on people’s likes, dislikes and habits,” he said. 

Longbottom warned that there is a reason Facebook operates on a free model, and it is no secret that the company harvests data. “If you want your adverts highly targeted, then so be it,” he said. “If you’d rather not open everything up for inspection, then you need to be careful in what systems you use and what information you make public.”

Although free services are alluring for users, they have to remember that they need business models behind them. “Facebook’s is in mining information that users put on its system and making this available to those who pay,” Longbottom said. “The advertisers and businesses looking for greater insights into user behaviour.”

IBM is patent king in 2011 despite Asian dominace

IBM has retained its crown as biggest US patent winner, as another record year sees Asian companies increase their dominance.

In a top 50 ranking by patent database producer IFI Claims, Big Blue has stayed at the top of the pops for the 19th year running, with a five percent increase to 6,180 utility patents in 2011.

Such was IBM’s dominance that it even managed to find time to sell a couple of hundred patents to supposedly patent-hating Google and still stay way out in front.

With former CEO Samuel J Palmisano claiming that the firm moved away from hardware services to focus on more innovative areas, it seems that IBM can fend off possible patent cases with the might of a superior portfolio.

While IBM’s mountain of patent papers is big and getting bigger, it is seeing increasing competition from firms in the east.

Samsung is beginning to catch up on IBM, with its legal team racking up an eight percent growth rate to reach 4,894.  Ironically, 2011 was a year in which Samsung had its rear dragged across numerous continents due to ongoing patent disputes with Apple as the fight escalated in the smartphone and tablet markets.  Apple moved into the 39th spot after creeping into the chart at 46 last year.

Canon leapfrogged Microsoft into the third spot with an 11 percent increase to 2,821, followed by Panasonic and Toshiba, as both jumped a place each.

The “dizzying” pace of Asian patent acquisition saw the total number of patents awarded grow another two percent from last year’s record, hitting 224,505 in total throughout 2011. Indeed Asian firms now account for half of the top 50 slots, with the US nabbing 17.

Other US companies didn’t fare so well, with Cisco, HP, Intel, Microsoft and Oracle all accounting for less patent grants than last year.

As well as the automotive industry, mobile and wireless firms saw some movement up the chart with Broadcomm at 17, Qualcomm at 26 and RIM moving into the top 50 at 40.

Adobe boosts video ad platform by buying a company

Adobe has announced the acquisition of video ad management firm Auditude.

According to a statement released today Adobe will use the takeover of Auditude with an eye on incorporating its video technology with the advertising platform.

Adobe is hopeful that through the acquisition it will be able to offer ways of “authoring, distributing, analysing,” and, most importantly, “monetising” digital video for its users.

Auditude lets publishers and media companies create high quality, TV-like ads which are becoming increasingly ubiquitous as a form of online advertising.

Adobe is seeking to capitalise on this by drawing on Auditude’s platform features including “easy integration into content management and other video operation systems” and “flexible ad placement”.

The deal will see Auditude’s advertising server platform used along with Adobe’s Flash Media Server 4.5 and Adobe Pass to bring video advertising via multiple platforms.  Adobe regards this as one of the most comprehensive ways for publishers to encode video and push it across their content platform ranges.

It also said that Auditude will be integrated with Adobe’s Digital Marketing Suite to help with analytics, identifying delivery strategies and ad placements. 

Adobe buys fascinating e-signature company

Adobe, PDF enabler and peddler of expensive photo manipulation software, has bought a company called EchoSign.

EchoSign deals in electronic signatures. Adobe wants to implement EchoSign’s electronic signature into all of its document exchange services. The idea is EchoSign’s technology will automate electronic signatures at every step of the way.

Although Adobe has taken flak for security in the past, it assures us that EchoSign’s whole deal is a secure option from ssmall businesses through to the enterprise.

In a statement, an excitable EchoSign said with the buy from Adobe it’s only a matter of time before electronic signatures become the de facto medium to sign stuff in general, doing away with the indecipherable charm of the John Hancock. It will also cut out arguments over who gets to sign with an “X”.

Adobe boasts its new plaything has clients in high profile business like Salesforce and NetSuite.

Terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. Adobe doesn’t say how much it forked out for the Palo Alto based company.

All the lucky full-time EchoStar employees will find themself routed in Adobe from now on. 

Ebay bids for and wins GSI Commerce

Ebay has been doing some bidding and buying of its own.

The auction site announced that it will buy GSI Commerce, a company which specialises in ecommerce and interactive marketing services and it’s not being stingy about the price either. According to the announcement, Ebay will shell out  $29.25 a share, which totals to a not insignificant $2.4 billion.

The company will use both cash and debt to make the purchase, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2011.

However, Ebay doesn’t look like it’s practising what it tells its customers to do, and that’s bargain for the best price. The merger consideration represents a 51 percent premium over GSI’s closing price on March 25 and a 47 percent premium over the average closing price of GSI Commerce common stock over the 30 trading days.

It doesn’t seem fussed about the price hike however, with head honchos at the company claiming that the acquisition will “significantly strengthen [the] ability to connect buyers and sellers worldwide,”

The company plans to combine GSI with Ebay Marketplaces and PayPal, to help it benefit
with long-term commerce services relationships with retailers and brands as well as “to drive innovation, engage customers and help people shop anytime, anywhere and on any device.”

However, there are some losers. As part of the transaction, eBay will dump GSI’s licensed sports merchandise business and 70 percent of ShopRunner and Rue La La. They have been given the boot as eBay believes these businesses are not core to its long-term growth strategy.

Teradata buys Aster Data for $263 million

Data warehousing company Teradata has managed to sign a definitive agreement to buy out Aster Data Systems, which specialises in analytics and data management. 

Teradata believes it is the leader in data warehousing and thinks having Aster Data in its roster will help it along the way, offering the chance for clients to sift through and lever volumes of data to “drive profitable growth”.

Teradata will receive Aster Data’s business, intellectual property and comple technology product line through a merger. Aster Data’s customers will come with the package, too, and employees can expect to be “integrated” not sacked as soon as the acquisition completes. 

Following on from Teradta’s 11 percent ownership in Aster Data in September 2010, it has agreed to shell out for the rest with an additional $263 million, including net of debt and expenses. It says it will receive the $21 million on Aster Data’s balance sheet when the deal closes. 

HP proposes to Vertica

A beautiful relationship is growing between HP and Vertica.

HP today announced that it will be taking the privately held, real-time analytics platform company as one of its many wives. However, it is unknown how much it’s currently paying for the privilege.  

According to the announcement, the acquisition of Vertica will allow HP to add real-time business analytics for large and complex sets of data in physical, virtual and cloud environments.

This is because Vertica’s platform apparently helps customers analyse massive amounts of data quickly “resulting in “just-in-time” business intelligence”.

Shane Robison, executive vice president and chief strategy and technology officer at HP said: “In today’s highly competitive environment, customers need the ability to manage the increasing amounts of data and growing streams of information with more flexible, more dynamic architectures.

“Vertica’s unique platform combines simplicity with industry-leading performance, allowing HP to leap ahead of the industry in the race to analyse massive amounts of data.”

Verica responded by claiming that the fruits of the companies joint labour will allow HP’s customers to “develop flexible business performance solutions that improve decision making and streamline business processes.”

The courtship is hoped to end in the second quarter of this year. Once the pair are wed
Vertica products will be available through HP sales and service channels – well it’s like taking HP’s name in tech terms we suppose.