Anupreeta's Feed
Oct 5, 2009

Kudelski launches tender offer for OpenTV

NEW YORK, Oct 5 (Reuters) – Swiss digital TV technology
company The Kudelski Group <KUD.VX> is trying to take full
ownership of OpenTV Corp <OPTV.O> for the second time, with a
higher offer valuing the interactive TV software maker at $215
million.

The deal, launched on Monday as an all-cash tender offer,
offers OpenTV shareholders $1.55 per share for the 94 million
outstanding shares that Kudelski does not already own.

Oct 2, 2009

GE talks to Comcast about NBC Universal: sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A deal between Comcast Corp and General Electric Co for NBC Universal would seem a storybook match — one wants in to the media business and the other may be well-served to get out.

Comcast shareholders see it another way, sending its shares down 7.2 percent on Thursday as sources familiar with the matter said the top U.S. cable service provider was in talks to buy a majority stake in NBC Universal from GE.

Oct 1, 2009

Enterprise IT deals to drive tech M&A

NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Technology bankers are
placing their bets on combinations around enterprise
information technology (IT) offerings, which they say will
spearhead dealmaking in coming months.

The next few months could see network equipment giant Cisco
Systems Inc <CSCO.O> making a play for a data storage company
like NetApp Inc <NTAP.O>; services behemoth International
Business Machines Corp <IBM.N> going after a content delivery
network provider like Akamai Technologies Inc <AKAM.O>; and
server maker Hewlett-Packard Co <HPQ.N> courting a network gear
maker like Juniper Networks Inc <JNPR.O>, bankers said.

Sep 29, 2009

Bloomberg seen as top BusinessWeek bidder: source

NEW YORK (Reuters) – McGraw-Hill Cos Inc is leaning toward selling its money-losing BusinessWeek magazine to Bloomberg LP, although another bidder could still make a higher offer, a person familiar with the matter said.

A deal still could take weeks, or could fall apart because of depressed magazine advertising and uncertainty in the financing market; but BusinessWeek executives think that Bloomberg would be the best fit, the source said on Tuesday.

Sep 21, 2009
via MediaFile

Carol Bartz! It’s You!

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Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz was right by the Reuters office this morning, ringing the morning bell at Nasdaq on 43rd Street and Broadway, so I ran down to catch a glimpse and lob a few questions at her. With all the buzz about Yahoo’s new marketing campaign, which is set to be unveiled tomorrow, I asked Bartz if she was excited.”Excited? I’m so excited about it, I could do a Yahoo yodel,” she said. But then, she didn’t oblige. Bartz did say New Yorkers will see splashy Yahoo signs and other gimmicks over the next few days. But it’s not just New York.The campaign, which the New York Times says is backed by a $100 million budget, will be launched all over the world, Bartz said. We’ll have more on Tuesday, when Yahoo executives tell reporters what they are up to. Until then, here’s a sneak peak courtesy of The Wall Street Journal, which says the campaign tagline is “It’s You!”.And here is a (admittedly not very good) picture of Bartz posing for the cameras outside the Nasdaq building, taken from my BlackBerry:

Sep 15, 2009
via MediaFile

Did Cisco Flip too soon?

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I’m in Silicon Valley this week meeting technology bankers and venture capitalists. Among the deal chatter, this is a question that came up more than once: Does Cisco feel a little silly for buying Flip camcorder maker Pure Digital, now that Apple has launched its popular iPod music players with built-in video?The networking giant has long been trying to expand in the consumer gadgets market, and six months ago, it paid $590 million to acquire the San Francisco-based maker of pocket-sized digital camcorders. These sell for between $149.99 and $199.99.Last week, Apple unveiled a new iPod Nano with built-in video. The 8GB version that can shoot up to two hours of video costs $149, and the next version costs $179.Cisco’s plan was to use its operational scale and marketing to bring Flip to a much wider market. Given how much people like to post home-made videos on YouTube and other channels, it sounded like a smart idea.But now Apple is giving Cisco a run for its money. Some people say the Flip shoots better video than the Nano, but generally speaking — which device would you rather choose, given that both are similarly priced? A hip little music player that also lets you shoot baby Morgan’s first steps (not to mention plays radio and has a pedometer), or a Cisco-owned digital video recorder?

Aug 26, 2009
via MediaFile

Bollywood to plagiarism: Bye bye?

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Filmmakers in Bollywood, India’s movie industry, are notorious for borrowing liberally from foreign films far and wide, especially Hollywood.Even when they don’t copy an entire film frame by frame, Bollywood directors often borrow from several films at once, melding story lines and adapting them to an Indian setting, complete with song and dance. They do this, of course, without buying the remaking rights. Despite a lot of original cinema coming out of Bollywood, plagiarism is rife.Hollywood hasn’t cared until now, The Washington Post’s Emily Wax reports. Twentieth Century Fox recently settled a lawsuit with BR Films — a well-known banner — over its remake of the 1992 hit “My Cousin Vinny.” Fox accepted $200,000, paving the way for a release of the Hindi version, called “Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai” or “This Guy is Fearless”.The Times of London has reported that a lawyer representing major American studios has recently sent warning letters to producers who he believes are copying Hollywood films. Among the titles are “Ghostbusters”, “Jerry Maguire”, “The Departed” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, the paper reports.Will Fox’s action finally put a stop to the widespread plagiarism in Bollywood? More likely, Bollywood producers will just have to cough up the money to buy remaking rights, which is how it should be.Keep an eye on:

    Nokia plans to tackle Apple’s iPhone with a bet on Linux software. (Reuters) Channel 4 will drop Big Brother as it focuses more on public service broadcasting. (Financial Times) Alcatel-Lucent shares jump on rumors of Chinese bid. (Reuters)

Photo: www.moviegoods.com

Aug 6, 2009
via MediaFile

Better days ahead for Sirius XM?

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Sirius XM Radio has reason to be excited about the success of the cash for clunkers program. The satellite radio operator, which posted quarterly results this morning, raised its income outlook for the year on a potential rebound in car sales.Chief Executive Mel Karmazin said on the earnings call that he was cautiously optimistic that auto industry sales will pick up in the second half of this year.After all, any increase in car sales translates into more subscribers for Sirius XM, which gets most of its new users from satellite radios built into cars.Investors have been optimistic about Sirius’s stock all this week, given the launch of its iPhone software and the government’s Car Allowance Rebate System, which lets people trade in their old vehicles for rebates on new, fuel-efficient cars. Reuters’ Franklin Paul wrote on Tuesday:

The U.S. government’s popular “cash for clunkers” incentive program has added spark to the idea that auto sales may rebound after a four-year decline. By allowing people to trade in old vehicles, the program has lifted industry-wide sales back above 11 million units on an annualized basis.

What’s more, Barrington Research analyst James Goss told Paul that Sirius converts about half of its users who get trial accounts when they buy a car into paying customers.Now, only time will tell whether the optimism lasts, both in the beleaguered U.S. car industry and among Sirius shareholders.Keep an eye on:

    How Netflix gets your movies to your mailbox so fast. (Chicago Tribune) Falling terminal sales have prompted Bloomberg to make one-off payments to staff. (Financial Times) Thomson Reuters posts a better-than-expected quarterly profit. (Reuters)

Photo: Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin/Reuters

Jun 29, 2009
via MediaFile

TMZ got the scoop, will it see the money?

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Time Warner-owned celebrity news website TMZ may have been first in reporting the death of Michael Jackson, but is all the buzz around the site going to turn into cash?It’s a question the LA Times asks in this article, pointing out that the Jackson scoop — the biggest in TMZ’s history — comes at a time when the TMZ’s tactics and “tabloid sensibilities” have angered publicists and government officials, made other journalists reluctant to cite TMZ, and even caused advertisers to shy away from putting their messages on the site.In a piece last Friday, The New York Times’ Brian Stelter pointed out that even though TMZ looks good because it beat all rivals with the Jackson news, the “Jackson family said the time of death was 5:26 p.m. Eastern, several minutes after TMZ’s report, leading some to wonder whether the Web site looked accurate only in hindsight.”TMZ editor-in-chief Harvey Levin told the Times their report was 100 percent accurate. He also said the site pays “tip fees” that lead to stories, but did not say whether they paid any sources for the Jackson news.As the LA Times story by Scott Collins and Meg James says, one of the reasons why the site makes people — especially other reporters — uncomfortable is “a sense that TMZ is flouting not so much the law as journalistic ethics. Rivals have consistently accused Levin and company of paying for information.”So despite the site’s record of getting big celebrity news and the claims that TMZ’s scoop represents the triumph of new media over old, it’s not immediately clear that Time Warner will begin to make a ton of money off this asset. TMZ is a joint venture between AOL and Telepictures.Keep an eye on:

    Microsoft wants to sell Razorfish. Who wants to buy? (Financial Times) Advertising on mobile networks will take off in the next 2-3 years (Reuters) Google says, we aren’t so big, really. (The New York Times)

Photo: Reuters

Jun 16, 2009
via MediaFile

Take the BlackBerry Tour

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I’ve been pretty excited about the new BlackBerry Curve 8900 that my office handed me to replace a prehistoric 8800-series machine. Now there’s a new BlackBerry device, the Tour, which is making its debut this summer. So naturally, I rushed to check out the specs on the web to see what I missed.Here’s what it’s got: 4.4 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide and 0.6 inch thick. There’s a 3.2 megapixel camera, enhanced media player with 256MB built-in memory, video playback and recording capability, and other consumer-friendly features. At under 5 ounces, it’s a little heavier than the Curve 8900, but it doesn’t look that much different.But Research in Motion Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie told Reuters this latest phone is a “big step forward.” They’re calling it a “world phone”, which means globetrotters can easily access voice and data services on networks outside their home country.Like the Curve, the Tour is meant to appeal to both executives and regular folks, i.e. those who don’t wear suits but like to surf, e-mail and take pictures on their smartphones.The Tour will launch with Verizon and Sprint in the US, and Telus and Bell in Canada. But long before then, we’ll get a temperature check on RIM. It’s due to report earnings this week. And analysts expect the Canadian company to do just fine, although it remains to be seen how Apple’s aggressive new pricing on the iPhone will impact BlackBerry sales going forward.Keep an eye on:

    Amazon’s Kindle will support more book formats in the future. (NYTimes Bits) What will Eric Hippeau do as HuffPo CEO? (The Wall Street Journal) Boston Globe and a key union continue to discuss concessions. (Reuters) Spending on digital entertainment will fuel growth in the sector in the next few years. (Reuters)

Photo: BlackBerry Tour, courtesy website

    • About Anupreeta

      "Anupreeta Das is a New York-based reporter covering technology, media and telecoms deals. She has previously written for The Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor and many Indian publications. She is the 2009 recipient of a Society of Business Editors and Writers breaking news award for her coverage of Microsoft's failed bid for Yahoo. Das also won a 2006 Foreign Press Association award and an Overseas Press Club scholarship. Das holds graduate degrees in journalism and international political economy from Boston University and the London School of Economics. She speaks fluent Hindi, Assamese and a little Mandarin."
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