MediaFile

from DealZone:

Playing in Larry’s sandbox

Having spent more than $42 billion to buy about 60 companies, Larry Ellison’s Oracle has set something of a daunting standard for merger activity in the business software industry. So while SAP’s plan to buy smaller business software maker Sybase for $5.8 billion may not roil markets, it could certainly shake up things in an already  busy infotech sector.

With Sybase, SAP gets a boost in mobile technology, but will also end up with a big database business that provides steady revenues but little else on which SAP can grow its business.

The database chunk is by far the bigger earner for Sybase, with the mobile aps business accounting for only a little over a quarter of annual revenue, so it could make an attractive business for SAP to hive off. Breakingviews columnist Robert Cyran points out that keeping a hand in the database world could also prove awkward for SAP as it exacerbates competitive friction with its allies, Microsoft and IBM.

SAP could also look to sell the database business to cash up for any more strategic moves. Given this is the second-biggest deal for SAP in its nearly 40-year history, and marks the first big move since a management shakeup, the sandbox that so recently seemed to be Larry’s exclusive territory is only going to become more crowded.

Wednesday media highlights

Here are some of the day’s stories about the media industry:

Recession sends Americans to the Internet (Reuters)
S. John Tilak writes: “More than two-thirds of American adults — or 88 percent of U.S. Internet users — went online for help with recession-induced personal economic issues and to gather information on national economic problems, a study released on Wednesday said.”

BBC and Government Fall Out Over Financing Plan (NYT)
“The BBC and Britain’s Labour government, which has a history of support for the “Beeb,” have fallen out over a government plan to share some of the broadcaster’s £3.6 billion in public funding with its commercial television rivals,” writes Eric Pfanner.
Weisberg: Big news orgs have a stake in web-only papers not working (Economist.com|Romenesko) “Web advertising may well end up supporting big newsrooms if they can escape some of their legacy costs,” says Slate’s Jacob Weisberg. “The test I’d most like to see is of a well-financed, for-profit, web-only ‘newspaper’ with no printed version. The problem is that the leading news organizations have a stake in web-only newspapers not working because they will accelerate the decline of the large, if faltering businesses that revolve around print.”

USA Today introduces Newsdeck site for top headlines (Editors Weblogs)
“To give visitors another way to view the news, USA Today has introduced a site it calls Newsdeck that compiles the top headlines in an easy-to-read format. Users can scroll through stories in eight categories, including News, Money and Sports, with the ability to switch back and forth between the latest news and the most popular articles.,” writes Liz Webber.

Breakingviews sees gold in Fortune, CNNMoney.com

Business news analysis service Breakingviews.com isn’t doing too shabbily since getting the boot from its longtime space in The Wall Street Journal. Not long after that happened, it wound up in The New York Times and its sister paper the International Herald Tribune, as well as the Daily Telegraph. (And occasionally it shows up in the Journal through the miracle of advertising.)

Now it’s scoping out Time Warner territory. Breakingviews plans to announce on Thursday that it has strucka deal to appear in Fortune magazine starting Oct. 27, while selected “views” will run on the Internet at CNNMoney.com, which includes Fortune’s online material. In addition, Breakvingviews staffers will join the CNNMoney video line-up in the near future.

Breakingviews, which jostles with The Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street and Financial Times’s Lex column to analyze business news for investors and other market types, has 27 columnists based in London, New York, Paris, Washington, Madrid and San Francisco, according to the press release.

Breakingviews breaks in to The Wall Street Journal

wall-st-journal.JPG

The Wall Street Journal recently stopped carrying the Breakingviews business analysis column in favor of its expanded in-house Heard on the Street column, but Breakingviews still managed to crash the party in Wednesday’s paper. In true merry-prankster mode, the Breakingviews ad urges readers of Heard on the Street to think about what they’re missing and how to get a new fix. What the ad doesn’t mention is that The New York Times picked up Breakingviews for its business section just after the WSJ dropped it. Such a move would be a real paper cut.