There have certainly been a few deals on the table in the past couple of days both on the large-side and among imaginative start-ups.
It seems the markets didn’t think much of the news that SAP plans to buy Sybase for $5.8bn. The world’s largest maker of business software saw its share price drop following the announcement that it was to pay $65 a share in cash, a 44% premium on Sybase’s recent average share price.
It was SAP’s second-largest acquisition after its purchase of Business Objects in 2008. According to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S StarMine SmartEstimates the deal values Sybase at 24.4 times expected 2010 earnings, above SAP’s own 17.4 times but below the U.S. systems software sector average of 35.4.
The move is seen as a way to challenge rival Oracle, which has had a history of aggressive acquisitions. Behind the deal is Sybase’s capability to deliver access to its software via smartphones and other mobile devices.
DNA testing at home
Other deals in doubt include Pathway Genomics and Walgreen. The start-up company had announced that it was to sell a genetic test pack through Walgreen’s 7,500 shops. The genetic test was touted as allowing people to assess their risk of getting various diseases like diabetes. Up until now these tests have either been sold over the internet or through doctors, but the pizazz of Pathway’s announcement came to the attention of the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
In a letter to Pathway the FDA suggested that its test needed regulatory approval before it could be sold. Subsequently Walgreens said that it would hold off selling the test “until we have further clarity on this matter.”
Facing down trouble
And social networking site Facebook is back in the news. Not only has it admitted to a company-wide meeting to discuss privacy issues for which it has yet again been slammed, but it is facing new competition.
A New York start-up has launched an open appeal for investors. Diaspora, made up of four students at New York University, has said it
believes there is room for a competitor and has pitched its site as securing users data and sharing information on users’ terms, something of a dig at Facebook’s current problems (without actually naming it).
The students are using the fund-raising platform Kickstarter to generate interest and has raised over $100,000 from nearly 3,000 investors, well in excess of the $10,000 they has originally requested.
And social start-ups are not limited to online networks. Jelli Inc, a “social radio station” that lets listeners pick it’s playlist for a period of time, raised $7m in a first round of funding. Both Battery Ventures and First Round Capital were invloved and the cash has been earmarked for radio market expansion, new product development and team growth. Satya Patel, a partner at Battery Ventures and former Google executive, will take a seat on the company board.
Lithium Technologies has announced that is acquiring start-up company, Scout Labs. Lithium builds customer “communities” for businesses but has also noted an increased demand for monitoring what customers are saying on social services like Twitter and Facebook. Hence the deal with monitoring company Scout Labs which had raised more than $4m from Minor Ventures, El Dorado Venture Partners, and Javelin Ventures.
Games for BT
And still with activity on the internet. BT has pumped more money into OnLive as part of a plan to expand its games on-demand service to Europe. How much BT spent has not been revealed but it now holds a 2.6% stake in the company.
Now BT has an exclusive deal to bring a bundled OnLive Game Service to Britain over its internet backbone to BT’s broadband customers, although consumers will still be able to order directly from OnLive.
OnLive has been testing its gaming packages in Western Europe since 2009, although it is a Californian company, and retains a data centre in Wales. It has a video games on demand service, using cloud technology, which allows it to stream high-quality 3D video games to consumers and allows customers to play high-end games on low-end hardware.
In the clean tech world Israel-based waste-water treatment company Emefcy has raised $5m from UK investment fund, Pond Venture Partners which joins investorsCleantech Venture Funds and Plan B Ventures . The funds are to be used to develop a full-scale demonstration project of its microbial fuel cell.
And Mid Europa Partners has annouinced that it will buy a stake in Czech solar developer Energy 21. Energy 21 is the largest Czech-based independent developer and operator of solar power parks in Central and Eastern Europe, with an installed generation capacity of 26MW and a further 75MW in development.