Daily Deal Activity 08/10/12

Acquisitions:

Italy-based Matrix, which engages in the ownership and operation of Virgilio, an internet service provider, was acquired for $108.2 million by Italy-based Libero, which also operates as an internet service provider. Matrix reported revenue of approximately $120 million, and the sale is expected to be completed by the end of November 2012.

Gannett (NYSE:GCI), the media giant that owns USA Today and other properties, is buying BLiNQ Media. The price of the Facebook advertising software and service is up to $92 million over a period of three to four years, with a quarter of that amount, $23 million, coming up front. Following the acquisition, when brands buy ad placements on Gannett properties, they could then use BLiNQ to purchase ads on social sites as well. BLiNQ has only taken in about $3 million in funding, none from venture capitals, since launching in 2008.

SmileyHanchulak Marketing Communications, an advertising, marketing, and PR agency, was acquired by WhiteSpace Creative, a marketing communications agency. The acquisition accelerates WhiteSpace’s move into public relations and social media, areas in which the company has been seeking to grow. WhiteSpace’s client base will grow by one-third as a result of the deal, and its staff will grow to 33 employees. Terms were not disclosed.

Howmark Mobile, which owns and operates a mobile advertising platform for advertisers and publishers, was acquired by Australia-based mobile social networking services company MOKO.mobi (ASX:MKB). The initial consideration is of $1 million in cash and 4 million ordinary share of MOKO to be paid on close, and deferred consideration up to a maximum of $3.8 million to be paid quarterly over two years calculated on agreed performance hurdles. Howmark Mobile reported 2011 revenues of $2 million.

Velocity Technology Solutions, a provider of cloud solutions for enterprise resource planning applications, was acquired by Silver Lake Sumeru. The company was purchased from a group that includes Spire Capital Partners and Tudor Ventures. Co-investing alongside Silver Lake Sumeru were Partners Group and Northleaf Capital Partners. Terms were not disclosed.

Canada-based Globility Communications, a telecommunications services company offerings dial-up Internet and VoIP services, sold its remaining 54.4 percent to Primus Telecommunications Group (NYSE:PTGI), which offers a number of integrated facilities-based communications services. Established in 1996, Globility Communications is a registered Canadian competitive local exchange carrier. Terms were not disclosed.

Crazy Egg, a company that helps Website owners visualize visitor activity, has acquired the Web toolbar Hello Bar. The Hello Bar is a customizable bar that sits at the top of a Website and directs visitors with a call to action, such as “Circle me up on Google+!” Financial terms were not disclosed, but Crazy Egg plans on remaining acquisitive in the near future.

(8/7/12) Social technology company Lone Wolf, was acquired by app search company Mimvi, which is attempting to strengthen its position in the mobile app discovery market.  Mimvi plans to combine its contextual search and recommendation products with Lone Wolf’s video, mobile, and content community, to develop a new mobile app discovery service. Terms were not disclosed.

Investments:

France-based Pixmania, an online retailer of consumer electronic goods, sold a 22 percent stake to specialist electrical and computing retailer Dixons Retail (LSE:DXNS), valuing the company at $57.1 million. For the period ending April 28, 2012, Pixmania reported revenue of $1.08 billion and operating loss of $32.5 million.

OUYA, which sells an Android-powered box that developers can use to develop any kind of Android application for a television, raised $8.6 million in funding from undisclosed investors. In addition to running Android applications, OUYA is going to carry games that users can play for free.

Inside Sales, a provider of big data analytics sales force automation technology, from Hummer Winblad and Josh James, the co-founder and former CEO of Omniture. Inside Sales serves small and medium sized companies with algorithms designed to tell the sales professional who to contact, when to contact, and how to tailor the message for the sales target.

Kid’s learning startup MeeGenius, which launched in 2010 with the idea of helping children learn by introducing eBook apps, raised $2.4 million in funding to help the company expand and add more content. The round included investments from Sonja Perkins through Broadway Angels and Sunrise Capital Partners, among others.

The News Funnel, which operates a free, Web-based news aggregator for real estate professionals, raised $1 million in funding undisclosed investors. The content on the company’s site sources industry-specific news from trade publications and major media sources.

Rippld, which offers a connection, collaboration, and services exchange platform for creative professionals and clients, raised $0.8 million in funding from Michigan Microloan Fund Program and a public grant. The company is using the funds to hire development professionals to build out its platform and launch a marketing campaign in preparation for its beta launch.

SeeMore Interactive, which integrates image recognition and recommendation engine technology with augmented reality, raised $0.75 million in seed funding led by TechColumbus and private investors. The company’s technology is integrated with its retail product marketing platform designed to enhance product interaction and consumer engagement. The company intends to use the funds to continue development of its mobile solutions.

Buddy Platform, a provider of hosted and managed Web service tools for app development, raised an undisclosed amount of venture capital funding from Microsoft’s Bing Fund.

Pinion Tech, a provider of in-game interactive advertising solutions, has raised an undisclosed amount of venture capital funding from Microsoft’s Bing Fund.

Other:

Sony (TSE:6758) had made an offer to acquire an additional 42.2 percent stake in So-net Entertainment (TSE:3789) for $777.4 million in cash. The tender offer will commence on August 10, 2012 and will be open till September 20, 2012. So-net Entertainment offers entertainment services, including multiplayer online games, online communities, and mobile phone contents, in addition to Internet advertising solutions and broadband Internet services.

International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) made an informal approach about buying the enterprise unit of Research in Motion (TSX: RIM), according to Bloomberg. No talks are currently underway.

KPN has received several bids for its Belgian mobile unit BASE, according to Reuters. A deal could be valued at upwards of 1.7 billion, with non-binding first-round offers coming from Blackstone Group, Cinven, Providence Equity Partners, Telenet and De Persgroep.

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