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M&A Activity

Digital Media

The Internet sector saw significant change in the number and scale of companies changing hands from Q3 to Q4. Forbes Media picked up bookmarking tool Clipmarks as well as well as a 51% stake in political news clearinghouse Real Clear Politics, both for undisclosed amounts. And after closing $3.5 million in a Series D round in Q3, television listing and online video site MeeVee acquired blog aggregator Top 10 Sources.

Other large media companies snapping up online properties included Fox Interactive Media purchasing Beliefnet Inc., purchasing Newsvine, and the Walt Disney Co. purchasing iParenting. AOL purchased question-and-answer service Yedda, which connects users with questions to users with answers, and Quigo, which offers advertising management and search engine optimization tools.

Only two companies released the basic financial details of acquisition deals in Q4. ScanAlert, which certifies web sites as "hacker safe," was purchased by computer security provider McAfee for $51 million plus a possible $24 million in performance incentives. Optimost, which provides enterprise web site optimization tools, was purchased by content management provider Interwoven for $52 million. Both were all cash deals.


This sector is in freefall at the moment with funding deals totaling $55.7 million down some 71% compared to the previous quarter and on fewer deals.

FutureTrade Technologies was acquired by Interactive Brokers Group an automated global electronic market maker and broker. Netvantage was acquired by Purepay, an acquirer and operator of payments companies with a primary focus on automation and transaction processing within the financial services industry. Terms of both deals were not disclosed.


There were several substantial acquisitions in the quarter covering a broad range of technology segments. The big acquisitions were of the tuck-in type where the acquirer wanted to add missing functionality or they were to extend reach into existing markets. Some of the largest deals occurred in the broad data management and security segments.

Symantec acquired Vontu for $350 million in cash. According to Symantec, the combined Symantec and Vontu offerings will represent the only complete data loss prevention solution on the market – covering the endpoint, network, and storage with an integrated policy platform to prevent data loss throughout the enterprise.

Symantec competitor McAfee completed its $350 million acquisition in SafeBoot, a company that offers data protection as well as risk and compliance solutions. Elsewhere, Iron Mountain Digital, which specializes in data backup/recovery and archiving software as a service, acquired Stratify, for $158 million. Stratify specializes in sophisticated document management and retrieval for the legal profession.

In specialist markets, Zebra Technologies which helps companies identify, locate and track assets, transactions and people with on-demand specialty digital printing and automatic identification solutions, acquired Navis for $145 million in an all cash deal. this deal was a little unusual in that Navis manages logistics, assets, inventory and cargo across the global supply chain. It is therefore a departure from Zebra's core business that allow them to expand into new areas of business operation.

In the SMB space, Intuit acquired Homestead Technologies for $185 million in an all cash deal. Intuit said the purchase price includes the assumption of outstanding options and restricted stock units, although it did not say how much those items were worth. Homestead is a supplier of webstore solutions for small businesses and Intuit sees this as a natural extension of its market.

Table 2

Venture M&A Activity – 4th Quarter 2007

Click Industry For Detail
($25 Subscription Req’d)
Transaction Amounts
% Change
Vs. Prior
Number of
% Change
vs. Prior
Internet $103 Million - 87 % 13 - 43 %
Digital Media Undisclosed N/A 2 - 60 %
eCommerce Undisclosed N/A 2 --
Software $1.69 Billion - 61 % 45 - 10 %
Total $1.79 Billion - 67 % 62 - 23 %

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