Rumored Again, Guitar Hero: Beatles

Guitar Hero Beatles ImageThe rumor mill has a funny way of repeating itself and moving in circles until gossip eventually transitions toward fact.  Back in March, the airwaves were abuzz with the prospect that the Beatles digital debut might come by way of Activision’s Guitar Hero video game and not, as widely expected, iTunes music store.   That news didn’t pan out.  Activision revealed their G.H. pipeline and the special release title in the current lineup turned out to be a Metallica special edition.

Now, a few months later, the Financial Times is reporting on a similar Beatles story.  A rumor repeat based on new disclosures.  According to the new reports, a licensing deal worth several million dollars is in the works and could be weeks away. The parties are talking.

Fact? Fiction? Full Beatles Edition? Just a few songs licensed for the next Installment of the Game? Click to Read More

M&A Report: Fandango buys, CBS Closes Part of Tender Offer

dealsThrough nearly the first 180 days, 2008 has been a busy year for M&A activity .  Today, adding to the year’s tally, movie ticketing service Fandango announced the acquisition of from Disney.

Under the prior name, was launched in 2000 to provide movie summaries, facts and celebrity info.  In May, the site drew 1.9m unique visitors.

Fandango, which was bought by Comcast in April 2007, provides online ticket sales for about 15,000 movie screens around the U.S.. The site drew approximately 6.3m unique visitors in May.

The company currently splits its revenue between advertising income and Click to Read More

Staffing Report: More Yahoo Exits

staffing changesWhen Microsoft set out to buy Yahoo, they acknowledged part of the interest was Yahoo’s talented staff.  Now out of it and sitting on the sidelines, seeing a shareholder revolt, and masses of that talent walking out, some Microsoft execs might be singing along to Garth Brooks “Unanswered Prayers” and counting blessings for the deal that wasn’t.

Over the past few days, a host of high profile Yahoo execs have pulled the ripcord, hit the eject button, or to mix metaphors even more, exited stage left.

Click to Read More

iTunes by the Numbers: Music Sales Break 5billion Songs

apple measurediTunes has long been looked at as the loss leader, the bridge that links Apple’s assorted media products. It drives product sales and helps power iPods, iPhones, Apple TV and Mac multimedia.  But that role of servitude hasn’t stopped it from turning into a significant force. 

Apple announced today, the iTunes store crossed the 5 billion song barrier.  That’s 5 billion songs sold, up a billion from the 4billion announced in January.   

At 99cents a song, that means the store has generated nearly $5billion in music revenue. That’s $3.5billion to artists and labels and $1.5billion to Apple (based on widely estimated revenue sharing splits).  That’s not too shabby for an auxiliary program that helps promote hardware sales.

As this graphic shows, the escalation in pace at which songs are selling isn’t bad either:

itunes sales chart

Even more impressive, however, might be the story surrounding video sales.  Click to Read More

Applevine: Price Changes for Touch? Inside the 3G iPhone and its Profit Margin?

inside iphoneOne of the first things that happens when a product like the iPhone 3G hits the market is someone breaks it.  For curiosity, for insight, to see what’s inside, or simply because they can – someone will crack it open and chronicle all the bits and pieces; who made what and where did they do it.

It won’t be until July 11th that such an official breakdown can happen (and it’ll probably be a couple days after before such a story is published) but that delivery day isn’t stopping insiders from “leaking” news about who won the the iPhone part-age lottery nor is it stopping the press from speculating.

As of Thursday, the Commercial Times, a Chinese language newspaper is claiming they’ve got the scoop on what’s in iPhone 3g.  Per their reports, and translations from Digitimes, the following companies will be inside come July 11: Click to Read More

Metue Deal Diary: EA vs Take Two, Day by Day

ea ttwo deal diaryWith all the back and forth over the last five months, keeping track of Electronic Art’s attempt to acquire Take Two has gotten confusing. At times, it seems like just about anyone you ask is bound to have a different take, or different facts to relay: "The offer is too low and undervalues the company." "It’s just a matter of time." "EA will have to up their offer to $28 to $30." "it’s a stalemate."

In March, we put together a "Deal Diary" to track things. That first effort rapidly became outdated with all the twists and turns. An update was long overdue, so here, covering all the gritty details, even historical stock prices, is the remake. All in one place: The Exhaustive EA and Take Two Deal Diary from

[Note: This Deal Diary will be updated when more news develops. This version was last updated September 14, 2008. For related articles and analysis about the merger please see the links at the end of this Deal Diary].

Click to Read More

EA and Take Two: Delayed Again

ea delayedEA first went public with their offer to buy Take Two Interactive in February.  In March,  they escalated things to hostile.   In the months following it’s been much of the same back and forth: EA spokespeople say their price is “fair” and a “substantial premium.”  Take Two says the offer “significantly undervalues” the company.  Both sides created websites.  EA issues ultimatums and sets deadlines, Take Two fires back.  The dialog is mostly the same, as are the terms.  Only the deadlines change.  Most recently it was June 3rd. Then that deadline was extended to June 16th.  June 16th passed uneventfully.  Now, on Tuesday, Electronic Arts announced a fourth extension.  Now, the new deadline on EA’s tender offer to buy Take Two Interactive will lapse July 18th.   

Will this new date be final?  Or will the scheduling snafus continue?  The answers may hinge partly on regulatory issues.   Click to Read More

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