America Rewards the Deserving

Hamilton Nolan · 11/18/14 11:24AM

The business world is giddy and agog at the rip-roaring return of mergers and acquisitions. M&A is back! Just yesterday, two mega-deals worth $100 billion were announced. Some people are getting very, very rich. The deserving people, that is.

Government Sues to Block AT&T, T-Mobile Merger

Jim Newell · 08/31/11 11:47AM

Some big news in the telecom world today, as the Justice Department has sued to block AT&T's $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile on antitrust grounds. This is just like in the old days, when antitrust laws were enforced.

Microsoft Buying Skype for $8.5 Billion

Seth Abramovitch · 05/10/11 12:30AM

That's the word on the street! The deal would include the assumption of Skype's $686 million debt, and will be made public at 5 AM Pacific time, according to NYT. If it happens, it'll be Microsoft's biggest acquisition ever.

Happy Birthday, Time Warner. Enjoy It.

Hamilton Nolan · 03/04/09 04:16PM

Do you know what today is? It's the 20th anniversary of Time Warner. The massive merger that created the media behemoth happened on March 4, 1989. Time Warner was the future! And now?

Liberty Media ready to pay $1.42 billion for AOL dialup business

Nicholas Carlson · 09/29/08 10:00AM

Liberty Media CEO John Malone told the Financial Times his company is ready to swap its $1.42 billion stake in Time Warner in order to acquire AOL's dialup business. There's just one holdup. "Time Warner still needs to divide the business," Malone complained to the FT. Though it's been more than two years since Time Warner decided to turn AOL into an online advertising concern and abandon the Internet service provider business, AOL won't be completely split until early 2009. Malone isn't the only exec impatient for Time Warner's book keepers to hurry it up. AOL CEO Randy Falco was overheard last week griping: "When is New York going to sell us?"

Still on its cashback kick, Microsoft buys comparison-shopping site

Nicholas Carlson · 08/29/08 09:20AM

Microsoft will acquire Greenfield Online, which operates European comparison shopping site, for $17.50 per share or $486 million. Ciao works by directing shoppers to some 2,200 merchants, who then pay Ciao when those shoppers buy goods. ComScore says Ciao sees 26.5 million visitors a month. Last quarter, Greenfield reported revenues of $36 million and $2.1 million in profit. Following its strategy to split search marketing revenues with Web searchers, Microsoft says it eventually plans to share with them some of the money Ciao's merchants pay.Newspapers have stuffed their Sunday editions full of coupons for as long as we can remember, so there must be some money in being the middleman who passes on word of discounts and deals. The difference is that coupons are simple. They are delivered to you and then you just cut them out and hand them to the cashier when you buy your milk. Microsoft's cashback plan has a higher barrier to entry. We're skeptical as to how many searchers will take the time to give Microsoft access to their bank accounts in order to earn a couple pennies back on the book they just bought from

Omnicom raids frigid market for online-advertising leftovers

Nicholas Carlson · 07/23/08 12:00PM

The International Monetary Fund says the mortgage mess is "the biggest financial crisis in the United States since the Great Depression," which means one thing for John Wren, CEO of ad-holding giant Omnicom: acquisition prices for companies in the advertising industry are low, and it's time to get shopping. Wren told analysts on earnings call yesteday that Omnicom will get more active with is wallet “perhaps now, as the economy worsens." Last December, Wren promised Omnicom would, like rivals Publicis Groupe and WPP Group already had, go on something of an acquisition spree in the interactive space. Didn't happen, Wren said, because Publicis and WPP "aggressively paid, in our opinion, uneconomic prices." Unfortunately for Wren, that means that the only companies left are the ones not worth overpaying for.

AOL dealmakers meeting with Microsoft, taking calls from Yahoo

Nicholas Carlson · 07/16/08 11:00AM

An AOL team of negotiators is in Seattle right now, trying to sell the business to Microsoft for a price somewhere between $10 billion and $15 billion. An AOL source told Silicon Alley Insider the probability that a deal gets done on this trip is "low/medium." Perhaps in an effort to speed the proceedings and ignite a bidding war, another source told Reuters that AOL-Yahoo merger negotiations — on since April — "have taken on new urgency." If such a bidding war goes down, bet that AOL goes to Microsoft, which has more cash than Yahoo. More importantly, CEO Steve Ballmer will refuse to get left at the altar by Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang again.

The five weeks Yahoo wants us all to forget ever happened

Nicholas Carlson · 07/02/08 10:40AM

In a presentation filed with SEC earlier this week, Yahoo's board tried to convince Yahoo shareholders that "the record casts doubt on whether Microsoft was ever committed to a whole company acquisition." But Yahoo shareholders don't buy it. You shouldn't either. Why? Remember the five weeks between when Microsoft made is offer public on February 1 and March 10, when Yahoo execs finally agreed to meet. One major shareholder tells us: