REPORT: INTERNET M&A ACTIVITY HITS SIX-MONTH HIGH
Buyers spent just over $2.7 billion to acquire 120 Internet properties in April, as merger and acquisition spending reached its highest level since November, according to a report released Tuesday. The report by Webmergers.com said a flurry of deals in the e-finance sector, capped by Ameritrade's $1.3 billion acquisition of online broker Datek Online, helped propel the activity. The San Francisco-based research firm found that April's spending was 75 percent higher than spending in March and 37 percent higher than February. The previous monthly high was in November 2001, when acquirers spent nearly $3 billion for 84 companies.
NINTENDO REVEALS ONLINE GAME PLANS
Nintendo of America Inc. has unveiled a plan to put its Gamecube games online, slated to begin this fall. Satoru Iwata, director of corporate planning, said online games are part of the company's overall business strategy, but there are still too many barriers for any company to greatly depend on it. "The profitable part of the online business is likely several years away," said Iwata.
REPORT: ONLINE ADVERTISING BEGINS TO RECOVER
There's evidence of an online advertising recovery as the number of individual online advertisements rose during the first four months of 2002, according to the Internet research company Nielsen/Net Ratings. The survey found the number of unique ads jumped 33 percent from January to April of this year, reaching a new high of nearly 70,000 ads online last month. Charles Buchwalter, vice president of media research, said the increase in online advertising over the past three months "indicates that the online ad market is finding some new traction." The survey said large traditional advertisers fueled the growth in online ads, with Columbia House taking the No. 1 spot with 330 unique ads in April, followed by Nestle USA with 214 ads last month.
ADELPHIA INVESTOR EYES BOARD SEAT
Concerns about Adelphia Communications Corp.'s financial position have caused one of its investors to exercise his right to appoint three members to the company's board of directors. In a statement Leonard Tow, who along with his family trusts owns 12 percent of Adelphia's outstanding common stock, said he received the right to appoint three Adelphia directors when Adelphia bought Century Communications Corp. in 1999. In a letter sent to Adelphia's directors, Tow expressed concern for the company's financial health. The nation's sixth-largest cable company is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for $2.3 billion in loans it guaranteed for the Riggs family but never recorded on its balance sheet.
REALNAMES SHUTS DOWN
RealNames has begun what it calls "an orderly wind down," liquidating its assets, after the Redwood, Calif.-based software company decided to shut down. Eighty-three employees have been laid off, the company said. Keith Teare, RealNames founder and chief executive officer, said the company was operating in the black and blames its collapse on a decision by Microsoft Corp. to stop using its Keyword product. "Microsoft's decision not to renew our distribution contract makes maintaining the company untenable," Teare said.
VC WATCH: DIGIMINE, INTERSAN GET FUNDING
Data mining company digiMine Inc. said it has raised $20.3 million in a third venture round, brining its funding so far to $45.8 million. The Bellevue, Wash.-based company helps analyze data they have gathered on their customers. Clients include Microsoft Corp. and Nordstrom.com. DigiMine, which anticipates profitability in 2003, said the new funding would be used to expand product development and grow its sales.
Meanwhile, InterSAN Inc. also announced it concluded a third round of funding. The Scotts Valley, Calif.-based storage management software said it raised $17.8 million, brining total funding for the startup to more than $28 million. The company said the additional money would be used to fund expanding sales and customer support organizations.
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