Daily Deal Activity 07/02/12

Acquisitions:

Dell (NasdaqGS:DELL)  has announced that it will be acquiring enterprise management software maker Quest Software (NasdaqGS:QSFT), for $2.4 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Dell will pay $28.00 per share, which beat out Insight Venture Partners’ bid of $25.75 per share. Quest’s assets, including its access management software, performance monitoring solutions, Windows Server management solutions, database management, and more, will now serve to strengthen Dell’s recently formed Software Group. The final deal values Quest Software at $2.5x revenue and 13.7x EBITDA.

CVC Capital Partners has completed its $1 billion acquisition of consultancy AlixPartners, which provides corporate turnaround, performance improvement, and financial advisory services, from Hellman & Friedman. Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Jefferies, and UBS provided debt financing for the transaction. The acquisition was originally announced in April 2012.

U.K.-based SHL Group, which offers cloud-based talent measurement and management solutions, was acquired for $660 million by data analysis, research, and advisory services company Corporate Executive Board (NYSE:EXBD), from HgCapital and Veronis Suhler Stevenson. With SHL’s assessments, predictive analytics, and robust technology platform, Corporate Executive Board enhances its ability to help clients manage talent, transform operations, and reduce risk.

Gaikai, which operates as a cloud-based gaming company, was acquired for $380 million by Japan-based Sony Computer Entertainment. The move is a sign of how console-based companies are feeling the pressure to offer alternative routes to accessing games content via other devices, as revenues from hardware-based services decline. Sony, makers of the PlayStation, says that as a result of the deal, it will establish a new cloud gaming service, as yet unnamed. Gaikai had raised $45 million in venture funding since 2010, with investors including Benchmark Capital, NEA, and Intel Capital.

Breaking Point Systems, which develops and delivers performance and security testing products to test and validate IT infrastructure devices, networks, applications, and data centers, was acquired for $160 million by Ixia (NasdaqGS:XXIA), a converged network and application performance testing solutions company. Breaking Point Systems has previously raised more than $20 million from Austin Ventures and other undisclosed investors. The company has been growing its business consistently over the last four quarters, with sales growing by over 40 percent in 2011 to $33.5 million, on gross margins of 87 percent. Ixia expects 2012 to show another 40 percent in growth. The deal comes follows Ixia’s purchase of another network performance company, Anue Systems, in May 2012 for $145 million.

Northbridge Systems, a technology consulting company providing collaboration, productivity, and business insight solutions to mid-market and enterprise clients, was acquired for $14.4 million by IT consulting firm Perficient (Nasdaq:PRFT). Northbridge Systems offers enterprise content management, reporting and dashboard, custom enterprise application, Website and content management, enterprise search, and business process and workflow solutions.

Digital music services company MOG, was acquired for a rumored $14 million by Beats Electronics, which is best known for its headphones and is backed by HTC (TSEC:2498). The move will give MOG – struggling to grow against its competitor Spotify – a new lease of life tied to a specific hardware maker.

Vizu, an online ad measurement and optimization company, was acquired by Nielsen, for an undisclosed amount. Adding this to the television metrics Nielsen already has gives it the means to measure the effectiveness of brand advertisements across diverse channels. Vizu will become part of the Nielsen Online Brand Effect Suite.

nRelate, a company that suggests related stories to readers on publisher Websites, was acquired by search and Q&A Website Ask.com. NRelate is designed to help publishers monetize b y increasing traffic to a site an average of 6 percent by displaying third-party content to readers. Terms were not disclosed.

Codella Marketing, a digital public relations and corporate communications services company serving law, real estate, healthcare, architecture, engineering, business advisory, and accounting firms, was acquired by Alexander’s, a printing company that has been operating since 1979. Terms were not disclosed.

South Korea-based media planning and buying agency Alchemedia, was acquired by WPP (LSE:WPP) subsidiary GroupM.  While terms were not disclosed, the company had 2011 revenues of $2.1 million, and gross assets of nearly $9 million. The seller is GIIR, one of South Korea’s largest advertising and marketing firms.

Findability Group, an internet marketing firm specializing in search engine positioning, was acquired by Volume 9, another search engine marketing company offering paid search management, link building, social media, local search marketing, and Website development. Terms were not disclosed.

Investments:

Jumptap, an independent, and privately-held mobile ad network reaching approximately 263 million people worldwide, raised $27.5 million in funding to keep pace with competitors while it prepares for an IPO itself. The round was led by two new backers, Keating Capital and another undisclosed institutional investor. Existing investors General Catalyst Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Summerhill Ventures, Valhalla Partners, and WPP (LSE:WPP) also participated. In total, Jumptap has now raised $121.5 million.

Needle, a provider of an online shopping platform that aims to bring sales advice to people, raised $10.5 million in Series B funding co-led by Shasta Ventures and Rembrandt Venture Partners. This brings Needle’s total funding to $12.5 million. That includes $2.5 million in debt from Rembrandt that converted to equity. The company’s sales clerks use its chat and eCommerce platform tools so that they can show products, as if they were in a store.

Fiksu, which operates a user acquisition platform for mobile app brands, raised $10 million in funding led by Qualcomm Ventures, with participation from previous investor Charles River Ventures. Fiksu’s platform spans the mobile app ecosystem, including advertising networks, real-time bidding exchanges, and incentivized download networks. The company will use the new money to expand its offices in the U.K. and Asia.

Apica, which offers solutions enterprises can use to manage their cloud-based apps, raised $5 million in Series C funding led by SEB Venture Capital, with existing investors Industrifonden, ALMI Invest, and KTH Chalmers Capital all participating. The round brings the total invested in the company, which has operations in Sweden as well as Palo Alto, to just over $11 million.

Israel-based stealth-mode eCommerce company Commerce Sciences, raised $1.8 million in funding from Innovation Endeavors, Genesis Partners, T5 Capital, and a number of angel investors. The company is working to bring together methodologies and technologies from the fields of behavioral economics, big data, and predictive analytics to create what will eventually be an end-to-end personalization platform for eCommerce players.

Youappi, the cross-platform app distribution startup which competes with Fiksu, raised $1 million in seed funding from undisclosed angel investors. Youappi is trying to address the challenge of app discovery, and has launched its solution on Tappible.

Other:

Microsoft (NasdaqGS:MSFT) is absorbing a $6.2 billion charge to reflect its inability to produce more revenue from aQuantive, an online ad service that it bought in 2007 for $6.3 billion. It was the most expensive acquisition in the company’s 37-year history at the time, surpassed only by the $8.5 billion purchase of Skype in 2011. The charge represents Microsoft’s acknowledgement that aQuantive did not increase the company’s online advertising revenue as much as management had anticipated. Since acquiring the company, Microsoft’s online division has reported losses totaling nearly $9 billion.

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