Barron's, part of The Wall Street Journal digital network, reported a rumor this week that Dell may acquire AMD, the world's No. 2 maker of PC processors. The speculation that AMD might be up for grabs, whether by Dell or anyone else, initially pushed AMD's stock up 35 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $8.63. It's now trading at $8.75. So how likely is this to happen?
AOL once ruled the dial-up domain, and if you're a packrat, you probably have a bunch of AOL CDs stuffed in a shoebox tucked away in the basement. Those glory deays are behind them now, and going forward, AOL has set its sights on being a major player in the online news market. Adding to its growing list of media outlets -- which includes TechCrunch, Engadget, and AutoBlog, among others -- the once popular ISP is buying The Huffington Post for $315 million.
With 4G broadband rolling out into more territories and front-facing cameras found on an increasing number of mobile devices, the smart money might be on streaming video. Perhaps recognizing the writing that's on the wall, Cisco announced its intent to acquire privately-held Inlet Technologies, a provider of Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) digital media processing platforms. Cisco's intent here is to strengthen the capabilities of its Videoscape TV platform.
A senior exec at Microsoft admitted that the rowdy bunch from Redmond did actively try to scoop up mega social networking site Facebook, confirming reports that first appeared in David Kirkpatrick's book, "The Facebook Effect," TechCrunch reports.
"Yeah, we tried to acquire Facebook," Microsoft Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Acquisition Fritz Lanman admitted at the Le Web conference in Paris. "Facebook had a lot of similarities to Microsoft back in the day."
Lanman didn't go into details about the failed acquisition, like how much Microsoft was willing to pay or proposed terms of the deal. But according to Kirkpatrick, Steve Ballmer was willing to spend $15 billion on Facebook, the exact amount Zuckerberg told Ballmer he was trying to get his company valued at. So what happened?
As the story goes, Zuckerberg said "I don't want to sell the company unless I can keep control." Ballmer didn't bite, though Microsoft did eventually ink an advertising deal and invest $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in the company.
In some alternate universe, perhaps Western Digital is able to acquire Seagate and instantly more than double its hard drive sales. But in this one, Seagate ultimately scoffed at WD's takeover proposal, or so that's the story "two people with knowledge of the matter" say, according to a Bloomberg report.
The sources say WD was willing to fork over anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent mor than TPG Capital, another firm that unsuccessfully tried to acquire Seagate. When news of WD's proposal hit the news wire, Seagate's stock surged 7.2 percent. So why didn't Seagate bite?
Both companies declined to comment, but the general consensus is that such a mega-deal would have sparked an antitrust investigation. On top of that, some management personnel would likely have lost their jobs.
Seagate's market value currently sits at about $6.9 billion. Western Digital, despite reporting lower sales than Seagate, is worth about $8 billion.
As was rumored over the weekend, Amazon today confirmed it has reached an agreement to acquire Quidsi Inc., the parent company responsible for Diapers.com and Soap.com.
"I'm not sure which is more unpleasant -- changing diapers, paying too much for them, or running out of them," said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com. "This acquisition brings together two companies who are committed to providing great prices and fast delivery to parents, making of the chores of being a parent a little easier and less expensive."
The deal includes about $500 million in cash, while Amazon also assumes the responsibility of roughly $45 million in debt, bringing the total value to around $545 million. Pending approval of the deal, Quaidsi will continue to operate independently with its same management team in place, Amazon said.
According to a Wall Street Journalreport that preceded the official announcement, Amazon's latest move bodes well for the consumer staples business. Everyday items like cleaning supplies and paper goods are still a small fraction of online sales, but is growing fast. Household product sales reached about $10 billion in 2009, a $4 billion increase since 2003.
Oracle hasn't been one to shy away from pricey acquisitions, and lest anyone forget that, the firm just announced plans to spend $1 billion in cash acquiring Art Technology Group, a provider of eCommerce software and on-demand commerce optimization applications.
"Driven by the convergence of online and traditional commerce and the need to increase revenue and improve customer loyalty, organizations across many industries are looking for a unified commerce and CRM platform to provide a seamless experience across all commerce channels," said Thomas Kurian, Executive Vice President Oracle Development. "Bringing together the complementary technologies and products from Oracle and ATG will enable the delivery of next-generation, unified cross-channel commerce and CRM."
This is Oracle's 10th acquisition so far in 2010, which will bring with it a customer-base of more than 1,000 global enterprises.
The mega-billion entity known as Facebook has scooped up most of Drop.io's technology and assets, the file sharing firm announced in a blog post. Sam Lessin, the head of Drop.io and also a former Harvard student (just like Mark Zuckerberg), is making the move to Facebook as well.
"In the coming weeks, we'll be winding down the Drop.io service," the company said. "As of this week, people will no longer be able to create new free drops, but you'll be able to download content from existing drops until December 15. Paid user accounts will still be available through December 15 and paid users will be able to continue using the service normally. After December 15, paid accounts will be discontinued as well."
Drop.io is Facebook's eight acquisition this year and follows the social networking service's trend of snatching up companies primarily for the people involved.
"We have never once bought a company for the company. We buy companies for excellent people," Mark Zuckerberg said at this year's Startup School event at Stanford.
Spotify wants to the set the record straight. No matter what you've read, the streaming music service isn't about to become another notch in Apple's acquisition belt, a Spotify spokesman said.
The rumor first began when TechCrunch reported an anonymous tip that Apple was in discussions with Spotify about a take-over deal.
"Apple and Spotify are in on-again, off-again discussions about an acquisition, but at best it's very early in the process," TechCrunch reported. "No firm price has been offered, no term sheet tabled."
And apparently no talks have taken place either.
"We wouldn't normally comment on this kind of speculation, but we wanted to make it clear that we have absolutely no intention of selling Spotify," said Jim Butcher, a spokesman for Spotify.
Spotify is only available in certain parts of Europe but is trying to break into the U.S. market.
Shares of Seagate stock skyrocketed 21 percent in after-hours trading after the hard drive maker disclosed it had been approached about going private.
"Seagate Technology announced today that it has received a preliminary indication of interest regarding a going private transaction," Seagate said a statement. "The company is in discussions with the party from whom it received the indication of interest, and its board of directors is evaluating the indication of interest and other strategic alternatives. The company has retained Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated and Perella Weinberg Partners LP to provide financial advice and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Arthur Cox as legal counsel. There is no assurance that the company will receive a formal offer or that any transaction will take place.
"Neither the company nor its representatives will be providing any additional comments regarding the preliminary indication of interest."
According to a report in The New York Times, private equity firms TPG and Kohlbert Kravis Roberts are the two parties making a joint bid for Seagate. Seagate's market value stands at $6 billion, and should it agree to a buyout, it would rank as the biggest private equity deal this year.