It was about two weeks ago now, Yahoo announced a $1.1 billion deal to take control of microblogging meets social networking site Tumblr. The deal was met with great skepticism from Tumblr users as to whether or not old-school Yahoo would even know where to start with such a new-age platform, despite the fact that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer promised the public “not to screw it up.”
And, I’m not at all surprised. She also promised analysts that they will be “monetizing” the platform. So, Tumblrs, get ready to be annoyed just like Facebook users were when ads started appearing. The truth is, once the ads start rolling out, things just simply won’t be the same. This announcement came seconds after they noted that Yahoo and Tumblr would remain separate businesses, each run by their existing CEOs. But, I find it hard to believe that Tumblr CEO David Karp will be giving a ton of push back on new monetization efforts from Yahoo now that they’ve stuffed his pockets full of dough.
Personally, I’m not a huge Tumblr user, but I have surfed the platform and checked out some of the content posted there. Lets just say there is a wide variety of content, more than 100 million blogs hosted here, and it's not all PG. It will be interesting to see what kind of advertisers are attracted to post their ads here when the time comes, and it will be even more interesting to see how quickly Tumblr users leave to find a new platform to escape those ads.
As for the other major question being tossed around with regard to the acquisition, “Will Tumblr make Yahoo cool again?” my favorite response came from Techland Blogger Doug Aarnoth. According to him, “The answer is no. An easy way to remember this is like so: if a tech company turns a healthy profit and/or has public shareholders, it can never be cool. Cool tech companies make little or no money and then get bought by uncool tech companies. This is what just happened to Tumblr. Yahoo buying Tumblr merely makes Tumblr uncool — not the other way around.”
Over this past year SpeakerBox has made a real investment in inbound marketing, not just for our clients, but also for ourselves. So, excuse me for a moment while I get a little self-promotional and highlight some of the content we’ve worked on this year.
When developing our content program we wanted to touch as many areas of interest for our clients and potential clients as possible. Many members of the SpeakerBox team have contributed to these content items and I personally appreciate the time and effort that has gone into getting this program off the ground. We have been very successful in our first year and I’m looking forward to all of the content we’ll provide our readers in the future.
The links below will take you to the content that exists on our website and you can also find a full list that will continue to be updated in real time on the SpeakerBox resources page.
PR 101 For Startups
Leveraging PR for M&A and Capital Raises
Inbound Marketing: Getting Found with Creative Content
Analyst Relations 101: Influencing the Influencers
The Five biggest Flaws in your B2B Website
No More Hocus Pocus: A Beginner's Guide to Search Engine Optimization
Acronyms, GSA Schedules and Agencies, Oh My! A Primer on B2G Public Relations
The Blueprint – Social Media and Government
Everything is on the Record: The Pre-Interview Checklist
As hilarious as it would be for Google to engage in metaphysical financial transactions, the blatant truth is that nothing of the sort is/was/has happened. Interestingly enough, I could easily issue a news release to this effect, drumming up interest in Google’s stock and potentially Christianity. Don’t believe me? It’s been done (albeit not for the purchase of Jehovah).
While fake press releases are not exactly new, the Google-ICOA fiasco is arguably one of the most presumptuous. Major news outlets, from the AP to TechCrunch, ran with the news (sans Google’s confirmation) and, while they were obviously penitent once the ruse was uncovered, this provides a valuable lesson for public relations pros. There’s an obvious best practice here for journalists too, which I don’t need to spell out…do I?
For PR pros, always be prepared to back a release up. Always. Don’t want your major acquisition or massive product launch to be looked at as a joke? Have your details and experts ready for when the reporters call – and the good ones will. In my near-decade of media relations work, I’ve yet to send out a press release that hasn’t been at least nominally investigated.
Fact checking may seem like a lost art, but given this latest round of bogus PR, there will likely be an uptick in follow-up calls from wary news organizations and wire services. So get those data sheets and executives ready to go, unless you want to be lumped in with “Michigan Man Invents Perpetual Motion Machine But Feds Stole It” and “Bat-Boy Found; For Real This Time” releases.
No, I'm not an investor, acquirer, nor am I an investment advisor to companies that are interested in a capital raise or M&A (mergers and acquisitions). I'm the CEO of a public relations firm for technology companies. So what do I know about M&A?
In our tech PR business, we do spend a lot of time with clients helping them leverage PR and digital communications in order to support their corporate goals, which often times includes M&A activities. So, we often get asked the next leading question, "how is the marketplace today?"
I just co-conducted a webinar where I teamed with Gretchen Guandolo, managing partner of Clearsight Advisors, a leading merchant bank here in DC, to address this very topic. The slides from the webinar as well as the digital recording are available here on our website.
Gretchen made the following comment to me, which is exciting for multiple reasons:
“While 2011 was an extremely strong year for M&A, all indications are that 2012 will be even stronger. Private equity firms continue to sit on nearly a trillion dollar stockpile of un-invested capital and strategic buyers have built sizable war chests to fuel growth via acquisitions. The level of M&A activity thus far in Q1 is on pace to exceed the prior year.”
I took note of the data available and research pointing to how hot M&A will be in 2012: most of our resources are saying similar things: the investment marketplace seems to be "hotter" than "not" and thus, it makes sense that now more than ever, PR for M&A or capital raises should be a part of a companies' marketing program if it's a desired outcome.
It is well understood that the conditions that are best for strong M&A activity are when:
1. interest rates are low
2. buyers have high cash balances
3. capital gains remains low
Since these conditions are all true at the moment, at least for 2012, it bodes well for those companies interested in pursuing opportunities to grow via M&A.
KPMG and Wharton just conducted a survey indicating that the conditions are right for increased M&A activity this year, due to increased cash reserves and low interest rates. According to the sources in the survey, on the buy-side, 7 out of 10 companies expected to make acquisitions this year, up from 57% in 2011. Chart from the report:
Richard Jeanneret of Ernst and Young shares some results on a CNBC clip from their Capital Confidence Barometer Survey - 1,000 C-suite executives were surveyed on their confidence level in the market. Relating to M&A, CEOs want to do deals next year. Fundamentals are strong as ever, cash reserves in excess of $2 trillion, and other conditions make the market ripe for M&A, regardless of this being an election year. Of course, no one can predict the future, but it's an educated guess.
When it comes to leveraging PR for capital raises, however, it's a tougher nut, since many companies need money to invest in PR so they can raise capital, but they can't get the money until they invest in PR. Classic case of chicken or the egg. Sometimes PR activities should be done in house in the beginning stages, with the marketing team or even the founders of the company...create as much buzz as possible in the right places, and be very, very focused in your efforts so you don't waste time. Then, when receiving your initial capital, you'll already have a head start! Download the webinar for more do-it-yourself tips.
What is your opinion on whether we're going to see a slew or a dearth of deals done this year?
--Elizabeth Shea, @eliz2shea
What are you doing on March 7th at 1:00 EST?
If your business goals include a capital raise, future acquisitions, or a successful exit, you should join SBX’s Elizabeth Shea and Clearsight Advisors’ Gretchen Guandolo for a webinar on PR and marketing activities that can enhance value for future capital raises or M&A activities.
Elizabeth and Gretchen will cover:
- How to land on the radar screen of the future investors and buyers of your business
- How to leverage communications to gain the most traction and exposure around a transaction
- What buyers seek in considering technologies and how your public persona can help put your best foot forward
- How PR is critical for capital raises, and when and when not to engage in PR
- What buyers look for when starting the due diligence process and how a company's presence affects that process.
- Strategic identification of select targets (investors and/or strategic buyers) and strategies for “creating buzz” within those segments
To learn more about the webinar and sign up please follow the link below.
came out with its annual ranking of top M&A deals
this week. Despite the downturned economy, the publication reported there were 77 deals in the government contracting community in 2009, down just 11 from 2008. While the number of deals was not fully reflective of the economy, the type of M&A activity highlighted is indicative of the times.
Deloittes acquisition of Bearing Points government business, named best mid-market deal, was the most direct reflection on the economy. Northrop Gummans sale of its TASC unit to private equity firms General Atlantic and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts was named best overall deal. Northorp was forced to sell TASC due to organizational conflicts of interest. Deals like this may grow in the coming years as the administration is taking a strong look at large integrators and conflicts within their numerous operating units. The feature also points out this deal marked the entrance of General Atlantic and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts onto the Washington equity scene, a sign of more deals to come?
Read the full coverage here
and let us know what you think about their picks.