War of Words Continues: More Yahoo Microsoft Icahn Banter

yahoo trophyMidway into the month, the July award for best corporate use of the media has been locked up. In a rare tie, the trophy goes jointly to Microsoft and Carl Icahn.   Together, working with press releases, public letters and carefully worded position statements, the two have effectively served their dual purpose of destabilizing Yahoo and advancing their efforts to acquire the company (or its assets) against the wishes of its management.

Looking at the Award Winning Performances:
It wasn’t too long ago that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had said Microsoft’s pursuit was over; that they had “moved on.”   At the end of June, in an interview with Tom Brokaw to discuss his retirement, Bill Gates confirmed he didn’t think a Microsoft-Yahoo combination would happen either.

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Gaming Mergers: Week in Review

game mergersWrapping up a week where tech news was largely dominated by iPhone related hype, and financial news committed to turbulent markets, three of the video game industries top ten publishers (and arguably top 5 depending on the method of ranking) moved ahead with acquisition related activities.  Leading the way, Activision and Vivendi games completed their merger.  Additionally, Electronic Arts made a small forward step in their battle to acquire Take Two Interactive and French publisher, Ubisoft, fortified their film industry foundation with the purchase of a special effects shop.

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Applevine: Justice Case Closed, iPhone Cracked Open

metue applevine whisperThe iPhone is here and Apple is making headlines around the world.  From the Applevine, there is more going on than just the debut of the anticipated phone. Thursday, it became apparent that the company is off the hook for any backdating of stock options.  Also, the iPhone 3G was cracked open and the App store went live.

Backdating Investigation Closed
While spokespeople for Apple and the San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s office have not commented, after two years, it appears the Justice Department has ended its criminal investigation of stock options back dating at Apple. They decided no charges will be filed.  Sources close to the case told the Wall Street Journal the inquiry is over.

At issue were practices dating back to the period between 1997 and 2001.

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Blockbuster Sees Light, Drops Circuit City

bbi circuit city offThe proposed marriage of Blockbuster and Circuit City always seemed wrong; like two actors that peaked early, fell from favor and were looking for mutual salvation in a questionable, improbable union.  It didn’t make sense.  It didn’t feel right.  The common ground seemed to be troubles not opportunities.   Given that, the odds of one company salvaging the other, of Blockbuster resuscitating the struggling business of Circuit City, seemed small.  Luckily for Blockbuster shareholders, CEO Jim Keyes reached the same conclusion before he walked the company into the Elvis Wedding Chapel and said “I Do.”

Wednesday, Blockbuster officially withdrew its $1.35billion ($6 to $8/share) offer.   All it took was a close inspection of Circuit City’s books.

The review process began in May Click to Read More

RIM: Short on Earnings But Longer on Vision

rim earnsWednesday, after the market’s close, Blackberry maker Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) released earnings that narrowly missed guidance for both revenues and earnings per share (EPS).  Having never come up short before, and consistently out performed, Wall Street expected more from RIM.  The stock traded down heavily after hours.  Thursday, the market showed no mercy.   Sometimes though, bad news is actually good news.  Perspective is everything.

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M&A Report: Fandango buys Movies.com, 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 Movies.com from Disney.

Under the prior name mrshowbiz.com, Movies.com 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.

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