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Twitter acqui-hires creative agency Ueno to help design new products

Twitter this morning announced it’s bringing the full-service creative agency Ueno in-house to work alongside Twitter’s own design and research teams. The move, an acqui-hire of sorts, is one where Twitter is essentially buying the agency with which it already had a close working relationship, as Ueno had previously partnered with Twitter on various design and product experiences in the past.
The agency itself was founded by Haraldur Thorleifsson in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2014. Today, it has dozens of employees working in Reykjavik, San Francisco, New York and LA.
Over the years, Ueno has worked on a number of …

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Twitter acquires social podcasting app Breaker, team to help build Twitter Spaces

Twitter has acquired social broadcasting app Breaker, the companies announced today via a combination of blog posts and tweets. The deal will see Breaker’s team joining Twitter to help “improve the health of the public conversation” on the service, as well as work on Twitter’s new audio-based networking project, Twitter Spaces. The Breaker app, however, will shut down on January 15, 2021.
Breaker announced the acquisition on its company blog, explaining why it believes its team will be a good fit at Twitter.
“Here at Breaker, we’re truly passionate about audio communication and we’re inspired by the ways …

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Voyager Space Holdings to acquire majority stake in commercial space leader Nanoracks

Voyager Space Holdings continues to build up its portfolio of strategic space service offerings with the acquisition of a majority stake in X.O. Markets, the parent company of Nanoracks. Nanoracks has provided commercial space services for years now, and most recently provided the Bishop Airlock that was installed on the International Space Station. Bishop is the first dedicated commercial permanent airlock on the ISS, and will provide a major increase in capabilities in terms of providing access to the orbital platform for private small satellites and research.
This is Voyager’s third major acquisition this year, after it picked …

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Looking ahead after 2020’s epic M&A spree

When we examine any year in enterprise M&A, it’s tempting to highlight the biggest, gaudiest deals — and there were plenty of those in 2020. I’ve written about 34 acquisitions so far this year. Of those, 15 were worth $1 billion or more, 12 were small enough to not require that the companies disclose the price and the remainder fell somewhere in between.
Four deals involving chip companies coming together totaled over $100 billion on their own. While nobody does eye-popping M&A quite like the chip industry, other sectors also offered their own eyebrow-raising deals, led by Salesforce buying Slack earlier this month …

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IBM snags Nordcloud to add multi-cloud consulting expertise

IBM has been busy since it announced plans to spin out its legacy infrastructure management business in October, placing an all-in bet on the hybrid cloud. Today, it built on that bet by acquiring Helsinki-based multi-cloud consulting firm Nordcloud. The companies did not share the purchase price.
Nordcloud fits neatly into this strategy with 500 consultants certified in AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform; giving the company a trained staff of experts to help as they move away from an IBM -centric solution to choosing to work with the customer however they wish to implement their cloud strategy.
This hybrid approach …

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Europe urged to block Google-Fitbit ahead of major digital policy overhaul

The European Commission must block the Google -Fitbit merger as a matter of democratic imperative, prominent academic and author Shoshana Zuboff has warned.
The Harvard professor who wrote the defining book on surveillance capitalism has become the latest voice raised against the $2.1 billion data+devices deal — that’s now been delayed at the regulatory clearance stage for more than a year.
Others calling for the Google-Fitbit acquisition to be blocked — unless or until robust competition, democratic and human rights safeguards can be baked in — include Amnesty International; scores of consumer, privacy and digital rights groups across civic society; and the …

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MTG acquires mobile racing game studio Hutch Games for up to $375 million

Sweden’s MTG is making a significant acquisition in the mobile gaming industry. The company is acquiring Hutch Games, the London-based game studio behind popular mobile racing games, such as Rebel Racing, F1 Manager and Top Drives.
The acquisition is an important one for MTG as the company is spending $275 million right away and setting aside another $100 million for performance-based payments.
If you’re not familiar with MTG, you probably know its portfolio companies. Over the past few years, MTG has acquired ESL and DreamHack to become an esports leader.
MTG has also acquired InnoGames and Kongregate for their popular …

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FTC sues to block P&G’s acquisition of Billie, a razor startup for women

The Federal Trade Commission has sued to block Procter & Gamble’s acquisition of Billie, a NY-based startup that sells razors and body wash.
In the notice, the FTC alleged that the merger would “eliminate innovative nascent competitors for wet shave razors” to the loss of consumers.
Billie was founded in 2017 with the goal of fighting the “pink tax” on goods marketed to women, including razors and body wash. It went up against companies like P&G and Edgewell Personal Care by offering high-quality and cheap razors. The company announced its intent to be acquired by P&G after raising just $35 …

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Why Slack and Salesforce execs think they’re better together

When Salesforce bought Slack earlier this week for $27.7 billion, it was in some ways the end of a startup fairytale. Slack was the living embodiment of the Silicon Valley startup success fantasy. It started as a pivot from a game company, of all things. It raised $1.4 billion, went from zero to a $7 billion valuation to IPO, checking off every box on the startup founder’s wish list.
Then quite suddenly this week, Slack was part of Salesforce, plucked off the market for an enormous sum of money.
While we might not ever know the back (Slack) room maneuvering that went …

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Walmart is buying JoyRun assets to add ‘peer-to-peer’ product delivery

The last time we wrote about JoyRun, it was raising $10 million. Today, the Bay Area startup has some very different news to share, as it becomes part of Walmart as Walmart has purchased select assets in a bid to enhance its supply chain. The mega-retailer announced today that it has acquired “select assets – including the talent, technology platform and IP” from the company, in a bid to incorporate its peer-to-peer food and drink delivery service into its own last-mile logistics.

Walmart EVP Srini Venkatesan notes that the app has amassed a network of 540 third-party merchant partners and north of 30,000 people who have delivered goods with the service since its launch half-a-decade ago. JoyRun’s service is a bit of twist on more standard delivery apps like Seamless and Uber Eats.

As we described it back in 2017, “The company’s app lets people find out who, nearby, is already heading out to a restaurant that they like, then tack on an order of their own.” It will be interesting to see how Walmart integrates this technology into its existing chain, though from the sound it, Walmart would essentially be relying on non-professionals to delivery goods like groceries.

The system would likely operate in a manner like Amazon Flex — a kind of Uber/Lyft gig economy-style approach to delivery.

“This acquisition allows us to further augment our team and ongoing efforts to explore even more ways to deliver for customers in the future,” Venkatesan adds. “For instance, Runners could complement our SPARK program and 3rd Party delivery providers. Our goal is to deliver as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Walmart expects the deal to close “in the coming weeks,” which will incorporate JoyRun into its Supply Chain Technology team. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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