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   Strategies & Market TrendsSpeculating in Takeover Targets


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To: richardred who wrote (4678)12/30/2017 8:10:23 PM
From: richardred
   of 6274
 
RE-SABR speculation

Dec 07, 2017 1:00 pm
Expedia has been talking for a couple of years about being opportunistic when it comes to mergers and acquisitions for its Egencia business travel unit. That may be on the back burner for awhile, though, as the parent company, which has been bogged down in integrating acquisitions over the past couple of years, focuses on growing what it already has.
When it comes to mergers and acquisitions activity in corporate travel, Expedia Inc.’s Egencia business is looking for increased volumes and scale in markets where it is already operating — and it is less interested in broadening its footprint geographically.

The Expedia subsidiary also scoffs at the notion of buying new technology.

That’s the perspective of Egencia President Rob Greyber, whose wish list for mergers and acquisitions in corporate travel meshes nicely with Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom’s newly articulated strategy for the parent company. Okerstrom said the company’s “land grab” for new geographies is nearly completed, and instead he wants Expedia to expand by digging deeper roots into existing locations where it operates.

skift.com


Sabre Travel Network and Expedia Announce Multi-Year Agreement


SOUTHLAKE, Texas, May 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

Sabre Travel Network, a
Sabre Holdings (NYSE: TSG) company, today announced it has signed a five-year
Global Distribution System ("GDS") subscriber agreement with Expedia, Inc., an
operating company of InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI). Over the term of the
agreement, Sabre Travel Network expects to process a meaningful portion of
Expedia's GDS bookings through the Sabre system. Specific terms are not being
disclosed.

"We are pleased to provide Expedia with the breadth of our distribution
services," said Hugh Jones, senior vice president, North America, Sabre Travel
Network. "This agreement underscores the value of the products and services
we provide to travel agencies."

"We are very pleased to announce Sabre Travel Network as a distribution
partner for Expedia," said Barney Harford, senior vice president of air, car
and private label at Expedia, Inc. "This agreement will bring diversification
to our GDS relationships."

sabre.com

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From: richardred12/30/2017 8:30:49 PM
   of 6274
 
The Year in Acquisitions: 22 Austin Startups That Were Acquired in 2017

Venture-backed startups are often faced with one of three futures — IPO, acquisition or failure. In this roundup, we’re looking at the most important acquisitions of 2017.

We cover acquisitions, mergers and fundings in our daily newsletter, The Beat. You can sign up for that here if you want to get this type of news when it happens.

Now, let’s take a look back at the Austin startups and tech companies that were acquired in 2017 — along with some of the investors who stood to benefit from those exits.

January CynergisTek, an Austin cybersecurity company that specializes in services for the healthcare industry, was acquired by Auxilio, Inc. Auxilio planned to pay $26.8 million in cash, stock and debt, and it offered up to $7.5 million more over the next five years if CynergisTek meets certain financial goals. CynergisTek was founded in 2004, and it does not appear to have raised any venture capital.

March

Silvercar, a tech-enabled car rental startup, was acquired by Audi. The deal was a natural fit since Silvercar, founded in 2012, built its brand around renting only silver Audi A4s and offering an easy-to-use app to get the car without waiting in the traditional lines at the airport. Audi had invested $28 million in Silvercar prior to announcing it would take a 100 percent stake. Audi didn’t say how much it paid in the acquisition. Silvercar raised about $60 million total, including a round led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and investment from Velos Partners and Austin Ventures.

April Nitero, a chipmaker that specializes in wireless, was acquired by California-based AMD. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Nitero, founded in 2009, had raised more than $3.1 million from investors including Austin Ventures, Southern Cross Venture Partners and Trailblaze Capital.

RetailMeNot, a digital discounts and marketing company that went public in 2013, was taken private in a $630 million buyout by Harland Clarke Holdings Corp. RetailMeNot was founded in 2009 and raised about $300 million from investors including Austin Ventures, Google Ventures, Adams Street Partners, JP Morgan Investment and Norwest Venture Partners.

AcademicWorks, an Austin-based edtech company founded in 2010, was acquired by Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB), a Charleston-based cloud software company with a 300-plus person office in Austin. No word on the value of the acquisition.

Experiment Engine, an Austin-based company, was acquired by Optimizely, a San Francisco-based software company. No financial details disclosed. Experiment Engine, an alumni of Techstars Austin, was founded in 2014 by its CEO Claire Vo, who has worked with several Austin tech companies before founding Experiment Engine. She planned to join Optimizely and manage the product and team through the integration. Experiment Engine had raised funding from Corsa Ventures, Mercury Fund, Founder Collective and Right Side Capital Management.

May

Owlchemy Labs, an Austin-based VR startup that quickly became one of the most successful VR gaming studios, was acquired by Google. No word on the price point or other details. The acquisition comes on the heels of Owlchemy Labs’ release of the new Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality game. The startup had raised a $5 million series A from Qualcomm Ventures, HTC, The VR Fund, Colopl VR Fund, Capital Factory and a few Austin entrepreneurs.

Pristine, an augmented reality startup, was acquired by Washington D.C.-based Upskill. No word on the price paid. Pristine, led by CEO Peter Evans, had raised about $5.4 million. Its investors included S3 Ventures, Capital Factory and HealthFundr.

June

Whole Foods, the long-standing organic foods grocer, was acquired by Amazon for $13.7 billion. Whole Foods, founded in 1978, IPOed in 1992. In recent years, it had faced consumer and investor pressure over its prices at a time when traditional grocers were providing more organic offerings, which had been one of Whole Foods footholds. After the acquisition, Amazon began placing some of its devices for sale in Whole Foods stores — and the grocer also reduced prices on some of its goods.

Edgecase, an Austin-based retail data software company, was acquired by Toronto-based ecommerce company GroupBy Inc. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. As part of the move, Edgecase’s former office became GroupBy’s U.S. headquarters. Edgecase was founded in 2012 by Garrett Eastham — who was replaced as CEO by Susanne Bowen in 2015. The company had raised more than $15 million from investors including Austin Ventures, Capital Factory, Mike Maples Jr. (Floodgate) and Brett Hurt (data.world and formerly Bazaarvoice), Mack Capital and Allegro Venture Partners.

Kinnser Software, Inc., an Austin-based software developer for healthcare and hospice work, agreed to be acquired by Kansas-based Mediware Information Systems. Kinnser was owned by Insight Venture Partners. Mediware, meanwhile, is owned by TPG Capital. Kinnser was founded in 2003 by CEO Chris Hester. It had raised a $40 million Series A from Insight Venture Partners in 2012.

Mood Media Corporation, an Austin-based customer experience and engagement company, was acquired by Apollo Global Management LLC, GSO Capital Partners LP and other stakeholders. The move takes the company back into private ownership. Mood Media will keep its HQ in Austin.

July Clearhead, an Austin digital marketing optimization company with offices in Cincinnati and London, was acquired by New York-based Accenture (NYSE: ACN). No financial terms were disclosed. Clearhead was founded in 2012 by Matty Wishnow, Ryan Garner and Sam Decker.

August GloFish, an Austin company making bioluminescent pet fish, sold its IP for $50 million, the ABJ reported. Yorktown Technologies LP sold its GloFish brand and intellectual property to Madison-based Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. GloFish was founded in 2001 by Alan Blake and Richard Crockett.

September Newgistics, an Austin shipping and digital commerce startup, agreed to be acquired by Pitney Bowes ( NYSE:PBI), a global tech company, for $475 million. Newgistics, founded in 1999, raised about $26 million between 2000 and 2013, Crunchbase shows. It flirted with an IPO in 2011, filing to raise about $86 million. But it backed off the idea. Its biggest investor, at that time, was Austin Ventures. Other investors include Littlejohn & Co. LLC,Spiegel-Hermes General Service LLC, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company and AV Labs.

October Certain Affinity, a video game studio, accepted a $10 million investment from Leyou Technologies Holdings Limited for a 20 percent stake. Leyou also got an option to buy all the remaining shares of Certain Affinity in 2021 based on a formulation that won’t exceed $150 million. Austin-based Capstar Partners is also an investor in the company.

Novati Technologies, an Austin-based company that makes semiconductors, was acquired by Albuquerque-based Skorpios Technologies Inc., the ABJ reported. Novati, founded in 2012, will lose its name and assume Skorpios’. No financial details were released. But it seems the fast-growing company probably fetched a high price given it reported $40 million in revenue last year — that was up from $4.6 million in 2012. The company makes chips for healthcare companies and the defense industry.

November Top image: courtesy of Nestle Chameleon Cold-Brew, a cold coffee maker, was acquired by Nestle for an undisclosed amount. Chameleon was founded in 2010 by Chris Campbell and Steve Williams. It had raised about $9.2 million from investors including Boulder Food Group and Fortitude Capital.

Jwaala, an Austin mobile banking software company, was acquired by Georgia-based Alogent for an undisclosed amount. Jwaala was founded by former IBM workers in 2006, and it was initially backed by Amplify Federal Credit Union with an undisclosed amount.

The intellectual property of Austin’s Hypori, Inc. was acquired by Intelligent Waves LLC. The companies announced Intelligent Waves, based in Reston, Va., purchased the Virtual Mobile Infrastructure associated intellectual property for an undisclosed price. Hypori, which makes virtual mobile infrastructure for the federal government, was founded in 2011 (it was called DroidCloud back then) and has raised about $20 million.

Bridgepoint Consulting, an Austin firm that provides financial and tech support to businesses, was acquired by Chicago-based Addison Group, a large professional services firm with 22 offices in the U.S. Bridgepoint will keep its Austin HQ and its 140 employees will remain here.

Bazaarvoice agreed to a $521 million buyout by Marlin Equity Partners, a Los Angeles-based investment firm. The company, founded in 2015 by Brett Hurt and Brant Barton, IPOed in 2012. After a damaging lawsuit, its stock declined somewhat. Earlier this year, it launched a new product, Brand Edge, a product that gives companies that don’t sell directly to consumers access to reviews and ratings. The company expected the move to draw in thousands of new customers and drive revenue.

December

Keet Health, a patient engagement startup in Austin, was acquired by Clinicient, Inc., a business solution for outpatient rehab. Keet builds digital care plans with education and messaging components to engage patients. It was founded by David Self and Jon Read in 2015.

Amplify Snack Brands, maker of Skinny Pop Popcorn, was acquired by The Hershey Company for about $1.6 billion. The company was founded in 2014, and it went public in 2015. In recent years, it acquired Austin-based Oatmega protein bars, Pacqui chips and Tyrrells potato chips.

americaninno.com

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To: richardred who wrote (4673)12/30/2017 8:34:58 PM
From: richardred
   of 6274
 
The year of the deal in Pa.? After a busy 2017, mergers and acquisitions unlikely to slow in 2018

Updated Dec 27; Posted Dec 22


This has been a year of mergers in central Pennsylvania.(PennLive file photos)




7 shares


By Nick Malawskey

nmalawskey@pennlive.com




Across a spectrum of industries in Pennsylvania, 2017 was a year for big headline deals.

Companies took advantage of a surging economy to continue a trend of mergers and acquisitions that, experts say, is unlikely to slow in the year ahead.

And while each market segment -- retail, food, healthcare -- has its own internal trends driving M&A activity, those trends are buttressed by larger, broader market forces and a favorable regulatory environment that has companies looking to buy.

The list of business combinations and acquisitions making waves in Pennsylvania alone is dizzying: Ahold-Delhaize (which owns Giant), UPMC-Pinnacle, Rite-Aid-Walgreens, CVS-Aetna, Hershey-Amplify, Hershey Med and Highmark, Campbell's Soup and Snyder's-Lance.

Rebounding from the economic recession, over the last several years corporate profitability has soared. For example, the Derry Township-based Hershey Company's profit margins jumped from single to double digits post recession. That kind of growth has left some companies with strong cash reserves which, having weathered the financial storm, can be used to support mergers or acquisitions.

Those cash reserves are in turn supported by continued low-interest rates, which keeps borrowing costs low, said Daniel Eye, a senior portfolio manager at Roof Advisory Group in Harrisburg.

READ MORE: CVS, Aetna stocks down day after $69-billion merger announcement: What does it mean to consumers?

"With borrowing costs so low, it's much easier to buy companies/businesses and have that purchase be accretive to your earnings and to be accretive in a fairly short period of time," Eye said. "Investors, shareholders and the stock market in general tend to look favorably on acquisitions that are expected to add to the acquiring company's bottom line quickly."

While those market and regulatory forces have provided a strong financial environment to support M&A activity, many of the announced deals -- whether in healthcare or retail -- have sounded similar themes when being discussed by corporate officials.

When Hollywood Casino owner Penn National announced it was acquiring fellow gaming company Pinnacle Entertainment, corporate executives highlighted, among other things, the cost savings the merger would bring. An eye to cost savings was also a driver in the merger of Ahold and Delhaize which completed this year, and resulted in a restructuring of Ahold USA in the wake of the merger.

In industries like food or retail, where revenue growth is often slow, merging with or acquiring a competitor is a way for companies to increase their bottom lines through consolidation and cost reductions either through headcount reductions or consolidations in areas like manufacturing or distribution efforts, said Eye with Roof Advisors.

In addition to cost savings, an acquisition is often a way to increase market share and geographic reach -- both key considerations of the previous mentioned Penn National-Pinnacle Entertainment and Ahold-Delhaize mergers.

Growth was also a key driver of the recently announced Hershey-Amplify deal. Long a chocolate-focused company, Hershey has dominated the domestic chocolate market for decades with little room to expand organically.

READ MORE: Penn National-Pinnacle Entertainment deal will create gaming giant

For years Hershey has been looking to expand its snack offerings -- in 2015 it acquired beef jerky maker Krave -- and the deal announced just this week brings to Hershey Amplify's SkinnyPop brand among others, expanding the company's portfolio of snack products.

Similar forces are at work regarding the similarly-timed announcement that Campbell's was making a move to gobble up Snyder-Lance, another salty-snack maker which owns the familiar Snyder's of Hanover brand.

"This acquisition will dramatically transform Campbell, shifting our center of gravity and further diversifying our portfolio into the faster-growing snacking category," said Campbell's CEO Denise Morrison in a statement announcing the purchase.

Whether it's a bolt-on acquisition looking for increased marketshare or product diversification, or a true merger to advantage of economies of scale, geographic reach and increased buying power, companies in the midstate and beyond appear to be embracing a bigger-is-better ethos.

In part this is due, said John Engle, president of Almington Capital, because while the economy has surged in recent year the growth in GDP, and general economic activity has been somewhat tepid.

"That sluggish growth has helped to drive incentives across a range of industries for companies to pursue consolidation over organic growth," he said. "For companies that benefit from economies of scale, especially, acquisitions have played a major part in growth strategies in recent years."

READ MORE: UPMC Pinnacle unveils its new health care brand

Perhaps no industry's landscape has changed more than healthcare, at least in Pennsylvania, where major healthcare provider networks have been on massive consolidation campaigns for the last several years.

This year Harrisburg-based Pinnacle Health merged with Pittsburgh-based UPMC, the state's largest healthcare system. UPMC now owns almost two-dozen hospitals across western and central Pennsylvania, an incredible shift in what was a once a highly fragmented and community-based landscape.

That wave has been driven partially by cost-containment goals, but also by the better negotiating power offered by a larger system, particularly when negotiating contracts with insurers.

While consolidation and merger activity is likely to slow (at least regionally) in the healthcare provider market, the general pace of M&A activity isn't expected to slow in 2018. If anything, experts said, it's likely to increase -- driven in part to the nation's new tax plan.

Engle said he expects M&A activity to tick up as corporations repatriate overseas holdings thanks to the law's tax holiday, holdings which account to trillions of dollars.

READ MORE: Campbell Soup wants to acquire snack food company Snyder's-Lance for $4.87 billion

"A lot of that money is going to go toward corporate finance activities, including dividend increases and making new acquisitions," Engle said.

Those repatriated holdings, along with a lowering of corporate tax rates, will leave companies "flush with cash," said John Boyd, principal with the Boyd Company, who said he expects to see companies -- especially in the IT fields -- go on a buying spree over the next couple of years.

That, plus the federal government's "America First" policy could also drive business decisions as companies competing for federal contracts may have new incentives to shift operations back to the U.S., which could also spur M&A activity, he concluded.

pennlive.com

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From: richardred12/30/2017 8:39:50 PM
   of 6274
 
CEOs go M&A hunting as booming markets unleash dealmaking spirits

Published 6:03 AM ET Fri, 29 Dec 2017 Reuters

Mergers and acquisitions had another strong year in 2017, reaching their third highest annual level since the 2008 financial crisis, as CEOs were emboldened by buoyant markets to pursue transformative deals, even when their targets resisted.

Companies negotiated large deals this year even before they had certainty that U.S. tax reforms advocated by President Donald Trump's Republican party would become law, as economic growth around the world, including in Europe, accelerated.

Setting 2017 apart was the willingness of potential acquirers to approach their targets unsolicited. In some instances, as with chipmaker Broadcom's $103 billion cash-and-stock bid to take over peer Qualcomm, the target companies refused to engage in talks.

"In cases where companies have been sold, close to 80 percent of them were initiated by the buyer approaching the seller as opposed to companies who decided to sell," said Michael Carr, global co-head of mergers & acquisitions at Goldman Sachs Group.

"Some of this is driven by buyers who believe they will not face competition, which encourages them to aggressively pressure their targets confidentially with the implied threat that they will go public," Carr added.

Unsolicited takeover approaches helped push global M&A to $3.54 trillion in 2017, roughly in line with last year's $3.59 trillion, according to preliminary Thomson Reuters data. The peak M&A year since 2008 was 2015, when M&A totaled $4.22 trillion.

The dealmaking environment has been favorable in the last three years due to the availability of cheap debt financing and high CEO confidence. Geopolitical turmoil, including a potential confrontation over North Korea's nuclear ambitions and faltering negotiations to form a coalition government in Germany, failed to dampen M&A spirits.

"Geopolitical uncertainty has had relatively little impact on our deals pipeline this year," said Cyrus Kapadia, vice chairman of investment banking at Lazard.

"Boards are supportive of deal-making where there is clear strategic rationale, and even in Britain, where Brexit is causing some uncertainty, companies are still pursuing large-scale deals to enhance organic growth," he added.

Europe, Asia-Pacific M&A up

A 16 percent year-on-year drop in M&A in the United States to $1.4 trillion was offset on a global basis by a 16 percent rise in M&A in Europe to $856 billion and an 11 percent rise in Asia-Pacific M&A to $912 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Among this year's biggest acquisitions were U.S. drugstore chain operator CVS Health's $69 billion agreement to buy health insurer Aetna; Walt Disney's $52 billion deal to buy film and television businesses from Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox; and aerospace supplier United Technologies' $30 billion agreement to buy avionics maker Rockwell Collins.

Many of these deals had stock as part of the purchase price, with acquirers emboldened to use their own shares as currency given their high stock market valuations, as opposed to offering just cash.

"We are seeing a stock component becoming a bigger portion of the offers being made, perhaps because the deals are bigger and transformative, and acquirers are looking to offer targets additional upside in these transactions," said Stephen Arcano, an M&A partner at law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Private equity-backed M&A activity totaled $322.6 billion globally in 2017, a 27 percent increase compared to last year, as more buyout firms sought to put money they have raised from their investors to work.

Dealmakers say the prospect of the U.S. tax overhaul has so far had little influence on deal negotiations.

"If you are an acquirer, you are likely modeling a deal where the synergies and the incremental value of combining is what is driving your purchase price and your premium, not an assumption on the underlying tax rate," said Chris Ventresca, global M&A co-head at ?JPMorgan Chase.

"If you are considering selling the entire company, as long as the buyer is willing to pay your price, you take the certainty of crystallizing a premium now with some ability to participate in tax reform upside via buyer stock," Ventresca added.

Companies may decide to allocate more of their cash to M&A in 2018 following the implementation of the U.S. tax changes, however.

"U.S. companies with lots of cash trapped overseas can now more easily put capital to work in the M&A market, while Europeans may try to take advantage of favorable tax policies to do more deals in the United States," said Dietrich Becker, co-head of European advisory at Perella Weinberg Partners.

cnbc.com




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To: richardred who wrote (4194)12/30/2017 8:48:42 PM
From: richardred
   of 6274
 
Apple's top 10 acquisitions, as it acquires Shazam for a whopping $400M Rohit James posted 18 days ago

The year gone by has seen plenty of activity in the mergers and acquisitions department of the global tech sector. From Cisco’s $3.7 billion AppDynamics deal to Verizon’s $4.48 billion purchase of Yahoo to Intel buying out partner Mobileye for $15.3 billion – 2017 has seen some incredible deals go down. Now finally, after weeks of rumour mills being on overdrive, Apple has confirmed the acquisition of Shazam, a British app development company, for a reported $400 million. With the purchase of the song-identifying tool, the tech giant is looking to fortify its Apple Music game, which some say has been losing ground after the emergence of Spotify.

Looking back at Apple’s past acquisition records, this present buy seems to be in sync with their overall policy of spending frugally to reinforce their own product line. In a time when global conglomerates and MNCs are throwing their financial weight around at will, Apple's approach to M&As has been more careful and cautious. After all, for a multi-billion enterprise that has repeatedly been called the world’s most valuable brand, a $400 million buy would seem like a drop in the bucket. However, the Shazam deal, Apple’s 94th acquisition so far, is pretty par for the trend. In 2017 alone, Apple made nine acquisitions, spending somewhere north of $650 million (Apple has a policy of not discussing details of its deals and purchases, so exact figures are hard to come by).

As Apple approaches its 100th acquisition sometime in 2018, we take a look at some of the tech giant’s biggest purchases and deals over the years:

image credit- Beats Electronics – $3 billion (2014)The business world shook when news broke out that Apple shelved out a massive $3 billion to buy out Beats Electronics. The brainchild of rapper and music producer Dr Dre and record producer Jimmy Iovine, the audio product company was formed in 2006 after Dre quipped about the lacklustre quality of the pirated versions of his songs. “Man, it’s one thing that people steal my music. It’s another thing to destroy the feeling of what I’ve worked on,” recalls Iovine of Dre’s conversation.

The transaction gave Apple access to Beats Music, a subscription-based streaming service (which now lies defunct), and more importantly Beats Electronics, the audio product-development vertical which allowed the tech giant to improve its own headphones range.

Next Software – $404 million (1996)Boy, where do we even start with this one! This news had so many angles to it that it sent the world of business into a tizzy. Next Software was one of Apple’s earliest acquisitions, and an astonishing one at that. The purchase served twin purposes. First, it marked the return of the iconic Steve Jobs – who at the time was Next’s CEO – back to his home ground Apple. Second, Apple had now found an operating system after having recently abandoned its own Copland System.

Many tech experts deem this acquisition to be the linchpin of the global tech disruption that kept changing the world of technology year-after-year and helped cast the legacy of Apple. Need we say more?

Anobit Technologies – $390 million (2011)Anobit Technologies has been one of Apple’s biggest acquisitions in the semiconductor space. Based out of Israel, this startup was chosen for two key reasons. Its flash memory components are an important part of many of the tech giant’s products (from iPads and iPhones to MacBook Airs). To add to this, the Anobit acquisition meant that its large team of chip engineers (around 160) would be part of the Apple team.

The purchase also allowed Apple to free itself from its dependency on flash component makers such as Samsung (read, bitter rival) and Intel. Acquiring Anobit allowed Apple to leverage the chip-maker’s controller technology – a type of error correction code (ECC) – with which the tech giant is able to produce the cheapest NAND flash chip inventory for its products. Hence, this was a move which allowed Apple to kill two birds with one $390 million stone.

AuthenTec – $356 million (2012)With the acquisition of this Florida-based company, Apple now had the one technology it was desperately looking for – a secure system that would help with data encryption, biometrics, and digital signatures, among others. Not only did the move help with the development of Apple Pay, it was also devastating for Microsoft, Google, and its other competitors.



PrimeSense – $345 million (2013)The second Israeli acquisition by Apple, PrimeSense was one of the pioneers of 3-D sensor technology. A fabless semiconductor company, it built technology in the area of sensory inputs. The company that was once powering Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensing system is now powering the facial recognition technology included in the iPhone X.

PA Semi – $278 million (2008)PA Semi was Apple’s first acquisition of a semiconductor company. It was reported that Apple added the California-based chip designer company to its kitty mainly due to its interest in low-power processors, especially for mobile devices.

Quattro Wireless – $275 million (2010)Announced in a blog post by then Quattro CEO Andy Miller, Apple’s acquisition of the mobile advertising operator was in response to rival Google’s $750 million purchase of AdMob. The company, which was founded in 2006, has an advertising network which spans mobile websites and smartphone applications. Experts believe this will help Apple monetise on the burgeoning mobile advertising platform.

C3 Technologies – $267 million (2011)A move which was intended to bolster and up the ante in the mapping and 3D visualisation segment, Apple’s purchase of C3 Technology looked to compete with Google’s 3D satellite mapping application. Being the tech company’s third acquisition in the field of 3D mapping – after Placebase in 2009 and Poly9 in 2010 – the Swedish startup was roped in for its incredibly high-quality and detailed 3D maps created with virtually no input from humans.

Siri – $250 million (2010)It would be hard today to imagine an iPhone without the service of its personal man Friday, Siri. Well, Apple had to dish out a mammoth (at the time) $250 million to attain full rights to the San Jose-based startup. Initially speculated as another move to supply its armament in its incessant turf war with fellow tech giant Google, the purchase paid high dividends in the following years. Siri has now become a household virtual entity, attaining a pop culture icon status.

Finishing off the list, we have three companies that were each paid a sum reported to be around $200 million.

Topsy Labs (2013)An outright acquisition, Apple bought Topsy Labs – a real-time search engine for Twitter – to gain access to its search architecture before shutting it down in 2015.

Turi (2016)Many in the tech world believe that Apple’s purchase of Turi helps cement the belief of AI rolling on full-steam to become an active and tangible feature of the future. The Seattle-based platform for building predictive and intelligent applications was acquired by Apple to build up its artificial intelligence capabilities.

Lattice Data (2017)As talks grow of a future with AI soon at the helm, it’d be expected that the biggest technology player also dips its toe in the pool. Lattice Data works in the field of restructuring ‘dark data’, and has been backed by many investors, including Google Ventures, GV, Madrona, and In-Q-Tel.

It is unclear at this point what Apple’s plans for Shazam are in the future. The app already links to Apple Music; however, its algorithms can be used to improve Siri’s audio-identification capability, further improving Apple’s already powerful virtual assistant. As the war of the virtual assistants heats up with Google’s Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana in the fray, and voice-enabled UI platforms becoming the norm, Apple users can hope to see improvements in the tech giant’s offerings in the future, courtesy the minds at Shazam.

yourstory.com

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To: richardred who wrote (4683)12/30/2017 9:41:16 PM
From: richardred
   of 6274
 
Apple finally got its tax break to bring billions home. Your move Apple...
By CNN on Dec 28, 2017 at 6:00 a.m.




(CNN Money) -- For years, Apple CEO Tim Cook has called on Washington to make it less costly for his company to bring back the billions of dollars it holds overseas.

Just in time for Christmas, Cook finally got his wish.

As part of the tax bill signed last week by President Trump, corporations like Apple will enjoy a repatriation tax rate of 15.5% for returning money to the U.S. from their overseas cash piles.

The new rate is higher than the " single digits" amount Cook once asked Congress for in 2013, but it is nonetheless significantly below the previous repatriation tax rate of 35%.

Now Apple and Cook face a put up or shut up moment. Will the world's most valuable company continue to rely on the tax havens for which it has been criticized, or make good on returning the money to its home country? And if it does bring it back, who will really benefit?

On an earnings call days after President Trump's inauguration, Cook said any tax reform package that encouraged repatriation would be "very good for the country and good for Apple."

Apple is by far the top cash hoarder. At the end of the most recent quarter, Apple had $268.9 billion in cash and marketable securities, more than $250 billion of which was held outside the United States.

Angelo Zino, an analyst who tracks Apple for CFRA Research, expects the company will take advantage of the tax break to bring back "nearly all of its international cash."

Once it does, Zino says Apple's top priority will likely be "accelerated" share buybacks. Apple has already committed to a $300 billion capital return program that includes buybacks and dividends for shareholders.

Analysts with Barclays echoed Zino's prediction in an investor note last week listing off the "most likely" uses for Apple's repatriated cash: "Significant capital returns and possibly a small ramp up in acquisitions."

Noticeably absent from the list: Reinvesting the money in American workers, either through expanding its operations and supply chain at home, or substantial pay increases for U.S. employees.

"We don't believe the primary use of repatriated cash will be manufacturing expansion [and] hiring," Zino told CNNMoney. But he says it "will certainly help" these causes.

After all, even devoting a tiny percent of the quarter trillion-dollar pot to hiring would be a vast sum.

Reps for Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But statements earlier this year from Apple executives appear to back up the analysts' assertions.

At a conference in February, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said a tax cut on repatriated cash would give Apple "additional flexibility around our capital return activities."

When asked about repatriation on the earnings call in January, Cook stayed vague, but left open the possibility of putting it toward acquisitions.

"What we would do with it, let's wait and see exactly what it is," Cook said, "But as I said before, we are always looking at acquisitions. We acquired 15 to 20 companies per year for the last four years."

wday.com

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To: richardred who wrote (4336)12/31/2017 10:54:33 AM
From: richardred
   of 6274
 
HAPPY NEW YEARS TO ALL IN 2018

2017 SITT year in review. 5 hits the year. DSCI-LNCE-SNAK were in my portfolio, but off the TT SITT list. 2 hits on the 2017 SITT top ten list.

Of 3 hits off the top ten list. 2 were successful takeout picks and 1 unsuccessful. 1 being a take under pick. 2017's top TT SITT pick. INCR turned out to be a merger and not a takeover. The merger caused a nice run up upon the announcement. I sold out shortly afterward for a nice gain. However it's had a big decline since then. Number 5 on the Top Ten list. IXYS did receive a takeover by Littelfuse. That takeout has yet to be completed. I had a nice gain , but I sold my shares before the TO offer missing out on a lot of premium.

Biggest losses this year- SNAK- Ironically It did receive a TO. However it was a distressed company in survival mode and the company sold out to receive something instead of chapter 11. I figured the company was worth at least 6- 7.50 on my latest adds, and much more than that before those latest adds. It sold for 4.00. I was just pain dead wrong on that. The company sold itself piece meal at distressed prices to pay down debt that was overdue on covenants. RELY-Real Ind. filed chapter 11. I knew going in this company was very risky. I was figuring early on, the price of scrap aluminum would turned this company around. Never happened soon enough, plus the hurricane in Houston hurt some of their operations.

Biggest gains of the year were weighted positions in DSCI & HBIO & MNTX.
Message 30927710

MY Biggest disappointment - having picked a takeover ( SNAK) and even picking out the suitor, but loosing a lot of money on it.

Biggest surprise- The takeover of Synder's/Lance by Campbell's. It was a former 2015 SITT tracking stock. I took it off the list soon after they acquired Diamond foods.
siliconinvestor.com

Personal performance for 2017- Thanks to a year end boost from LNCE helping earlier mistakes- I'm estimating about half of last years performance. Noteworthy Overall, once more, Option trading was a big success in 2017 and added to 2017 gains performance. This although many OOTM option positions expired worthless.
Message 30932125

Portfolio Cash position currently about 10%. I don't know what the new year brings, but feel good putting profitable trades into many adds and newer positions that are still depressed. Once again I'm weighted into infrastructure. This yeras 2018 TT SITT reflects that.

GITY- Good investing to you

RR

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To: richardred who wrote (4685)1/1/2018 9:21:38 PM
From: robert b furman
   of 6274
 
Hi Rick,

Thanks for last years posts and ideas.

I think even more importantly is the honesty and recap you've just shown us how to do.

Searching one's sole so to speak.

If we all pick up that one lesson from you, 2018 will be a better year!!

Thanks and I wish you a very successful 2018 - I have the feeling it will be!!

Bob

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To: robert b furman who wrote (4686)1/2/2018 11:48:48 AM
From: richardred
   of 6274
 
Thanks Bob. FWIW A little speculative kicker on ASTE- at face value on this years #1 pick in 2018 TOP TEN SITT pick. It's hard to read on my picture link, but look who makes the engine for the overseas sales of the Carlson Paving products. :+ )

Here's the sign Bob. Two of their operation are based in WI . Including their latest bolt on, REXCON. <G>

Message 31243086

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To: richardred who wrote (4678)1/3/2018 10:59:52 AM
From: richardred
1 Recommendation   of 6274
 
RE-MITK speculation. This years TT SITT wild speculation pick . Maybe not so wild after all. IMO this based on the analyst's hypothetical prediction below. IMO MITK would be a bolt on size for PYPL. Perfect to grow and scale up. MITK sales are only 45 million, but MITK is profitable with gross margins at 91%. Square has scale, but is not profitable yet. PYPL sales are 1.7 Billion with a market cap. of 14. billion,and gross margins at 38%. MITK trades at a PE of 24.

PayPal's next acquisition target could be Square, Stripe, or Adyen, analyst predicts
  • PayPal is expected to soon make a major acquisition, Bernstein's Lisa Ellis wrote in a note Wednesday.
  • She believes one of the largest payment companies, including Square, Stripe, and Adyen, to be among the potential acquisition targets.
  • PayPal's biggest deal took place in 2015 when it spent $890 million on Xoom.


  • bloomberg.com

    P.S. There's always others that might be hypothetically waiting in the wings like. ServiceNow-4SO

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