MegaPath / DSL.net

MegaPath, the California-based company, has acquired listed DSL.net, based in Connecticut. MegaPath is a virtual private network (VPN) company, offering solutions and other managed IP services to businesses nationwide.

This acquisition, which involves additional funding from existing MegaPath investors, would further strengthen the company's market position and enable it to deliver a wider selection of managed IP (Internet Protocol) data, voice and security services.

The addition of DSL.net's broadband and voice over IP (VoIP) infrastructure would also give MegaPath greater control over the performance and reliability of its services, and improve its margins and profitability. DSL.net had sales of USD 68.4m in 2005.

DSL.net currently offers services via its own facilities in over 350 collocations in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The associated round of funding includes certain of MegaPath's existing investors, including Fidelity Ventures, Rho Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners, Columbia Capital, Trident Capital and Boston Millennia Partners.

MegaPath will use this funding to accelerate the growth of its managed IP service business and expand its portfolio of value-added services organically and through strategic acquisitions. The acquisition is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval; final closing is expected by the end of 2006, however, this date is subject to change.

DSL.net. is a leading nationwide provider of broadband communications services to businesses. The company combines its own facilities, nationwide network infrastructure and Internet service provider (ISP) capabilities to provide high-speed Internet access, private network solutions and value-added services directly to small- and medium-sized businesses or larger enterprises looking to connect multiple locations.

(c) MergerMarket


Sony / Grouper.com

Grouper.com, a web video-watching site, is to be purchased by Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), the entertainment unit of Sony Corp, for USD65m.

The Grouper website, which is based along the lines of the YouTube.com site for user-generated videos, is reportedly used by millions of people. It allows users to create videos and share them with other users for viewing or download to portable video-playing devices such as Apple Computer Inc's iPod music and video players and Sony's PSP device.

Unlike other companies Sony does not have its own broadcast network, and Grouper is expected to provide Sony with a ready-made network to enable consumer-created videos and Hollywood-produced content to be distributed.

According to Sony no immediate changes are planned for the Grouper site, although ad-supported and premium content businesses may be added in the future. Grouper will work within Sony Pictures, keeping its existing management structure.

(c) Internet Business News

IBM / Internet Security Systems

Computing giant IBM Corp. said Wednesday it was buying Internet Security Systems Inc. (ISS) for 1.3 billion dollars to expand its reach into secure online networks.

The Atlanta-based ISS says it helps to “proactively protect” its 11,000 customers, including some of the world’s leading companies and governments, against Internet threats across networks and servers.

“The acquisition is an important addition to IBM’s security and privacy services business,” the companies said in a joint statement.

“Together, IBM and ISS will help clients of all sizes preemptively stay a step ahead of targeted security threats or attacks.”

The companies said they expected to close the deal by the end of the year. IBM’s purchase price comes to 28 dollars per ISS share, a premium of about 8.0 percent on the security firm’s closing price Tuesday of 26 dollars.

In early trade Wednesday, ISS stock surged nearly 7.0 percent to 27.81 dollars. IBM shares were up 0.23 percent at 79.13 dollars.

(c) Khaleej Times


Tiscali / Video Networks

Italian internet firm Tiscali said yesterday it will merge its UK operations with privately owned Video Networks International to increase the content it provides to its clients.

Video Networks, which offers TV, broadband and telephone services under the Homechoice brand, will contribute its British operations in exchange for 11.5 per cent of Tiscali UK, and may increase the stake to 20 per cent if profit targets are met, Tiscali said.

The agreement allows Tiscali to become a "triple play operator" in the UK, offering broadband, telephone and television to its clients, Tiscali chief executive Tommaso Pompei said.

The move comes as competition heats up in the UK broadband sector, with companies like BT, NTL and BSkyB vying for dominance by offering a bundle of services, putting Internet firms like Tiscali under pressure. Tiscali has a 10 per cent UK market share, behind BT, NTL and AOL.

(c) Reuters


Publicis / Moxie Interactive

Publicis Groupe's Zenith Media has acquired Moxie Interactive, an Atlanta-based i-shop.

The move expands Zenith's digital offering beyond online planning and buying, bringing creative, search engine and e-mail marketing, mobile and gaming, viral, technology development and hosting, interactive kiosks, and e-commerce into the fold.

Terms were not disclosed, but sources said the acquisition would bring Zenith's digital billings to more than $300 million annually.

The two agencies have teamed for five years on the Verizon Wireless account, with Moxie serving as lead digital agency and Zenith as the client's primary media shop.

Moxie, with 110 employees, will function as Zenith's branded digital offering, and the Zenith digital team (about 50 staffers split between New York and San Francisco) will be integrated into the Moxie operation. In addition, some members the digital team will be attached to client services teams throughout Zenith.

Moxie founder and CEO Kris Zagoria will oversee the merged digital operation, reporting to Jones. Zagoria, who founded the agency in 2000, will remain based in Atlanta.

In addition to Verizon, other Moxie clients include Best Buy, Blockbuster, Coca-Cola, Earthlink, Home Depot, Turner Broadcasting, Saks and UPS.

(c) AdWeek

Cisco / Nueva System

Cisco Systems, the listed, California-based company has made an investment in Nuova Systems, by acquiring 80% of it for USD 50m. It has made this acquisition to accelerate next-generation product development in the data center. As a result of Cisco's financial commitment, Nuova Systems will become a majority-owned subsidiary of Cisco.

Cisco has committed certain technology and USD 50m of funding to Nuova Systems with the possibility of up to USD 42m in additional funding in the future. The subsidiary will be approximately 80% owned by Cisco, with the remaining 20% interest held by employees of the subsidiary. Because of Cisco's majority ownership interest, the accounts of the subsidiary will be consolidated with the accounts of Cisco starting in fiscal year 2007.

As part of the agreement, Cisco has the option to purchase the remaining 20% interest in this subsidiary. Should Cisco decide to exercise this option, the transaction would occur in late fiscal year 2008 or early fiscal year 2009. The potential payouts made under the call option are primarily based on the success of Nuova Systems' products sold through Cisco, with a minimum potential payout of $10 million and a maximum total payout of $578 million. Nuova Systems' product development efforts will complement Cisco's current data center product portfolio which includes the Catalyst 6500, Cisco's core enterprise networking platform, the MDS line of storage switches, SFS server networking switches and application networking solutions for accelerating applications within the data center and to the rest of the enterprise.

(c) Mergermarket


Pearson / Mergermarket

Pearson Plc said on Tuesday it had bought deal news and data firm Mergermarket for 101 million pounds with an eye to enhancing what its Financial Times business newspaper can offer readers.

Mergermarket’s flagship product combines data about corporate mergers and acquisitions from around the world with news gathered by 160 journalists in 31 countries. It mainly sells the information to investment banks and law firms.

The closely held company was founded in 2000 and does not disclose financial information. London-based Pearson, which generates most of its profit from publishing educational materials, said it expects the deal to add to its earnings per share in 2007, the first full year after the purchase.

(c) Reuters

Nokia / Loudeye

Nokia said it has agreed to buy U.S.-based digital music distributor Loudeye Corp. for $60 million as the world's largest handset maker aims for a bigger slice of a potentially lucrative music market.

Nokia said on Tuesday it had offered $4.50 per share in cash to Loudeye shareholders, a premium of more than 150 percent over the shares' closing price on Monday. Shares in Loudeye surged at the start of trade on Tuesday and were up 146 percent at $4.36.

Shares in Nokia were 1 percent higher at 15.29 euros at 1406 GMT outperforming slightly stronger European technology shares.

Nokia has stepped up a gear on the acquisition trail after its new Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo took over in June. It has agreed to spin off its mobile networks infrastructure unit and dropped a planned phone making venture with Sanyo.

Kallasvuo has said Nokia is set to strengthen its multimedia and enterprise units through acquisitions.

(c) Reuters


TheStreet.com / Weiss Ratings

TheStreet.com, Inc., a leading provider of financial commentary, analysis and news, today announced that it has acquired certain assets of Weiss Ratings, Inc. ("Ratings") a wholly owned subsidiary of Weiss Group, Inc.

Founded in 1988, Ratings provides independent financial evaluations in industries where it believes investors are at risk. Ratings tracks the risk-adjusted performance of more than 16,000 mutual funds and more than 6,000 stocks. In addition, Ratings uses proprietary quantitative computer models to evaluate the financial strength of more than 13,000 financial institutions, including life, health and annuity insurers; property and casualty insurers; HMOs; Blue Cross Blue Shield plans; banks and savings and loans.

TheStreet.com believes the Ratings acquisition is consistent with two aspects of its previously disclosed strategic plan: completion of what it believes are accretive acquisitions, while diversifying both the sources of revenue and content to emphasize the fast growing advertising category and to diminish reliance on any one product or service.

This well-regarded content will be woven into both TheStreet.com's free advertising supported and paid subscription services, adding a new level of variety and value for our users. Planning for these new offerings is well underway and TheStreet.com users in particular can look forward to a number of new, innovative features in the near future.

Ratings' focus on mutual fund information adds particular value to TheStreet.com because of the high demand for this content category by both our users and our advertisers. Furthermore, the acquisition is a step toward TheStreet.com's goal of transforming off-line subscription products into advertising supported, page view driven on-line augmentations to the Company's free Web site, www.thestreet.com.

(c) Business Wire


Neuf Cegetel / AOL France

Après avoir renoncé au rachat de Télé2 France, Neuf Cegetel s'est finalement tourné vers AOL France, pour une somme qui devrait avoisiner les 300 millions d'euros. Le rachat d'AOL a été officialisé hier soir. Le mariage, quant à lui, devrait être réalisé avant la fin de l'année 2006.

Neuf Cegetel devrait ainsi reprendre l'ensemble des activités de fourniture d'accès Internet d'AOL (en France) soit un nombre de clients estimé à un million par l'AFP : 500 000 en haut débit et 500 000 en bas débit. Le centre de service client basé à Marseille qui emploie quelques 500 personnes fait également parti du rachat.

AOL conservera néanmoins son nouveau portail aol.fr et continuera ses activités de production de contenus exclusifs. AOL souhaiterait en effet élargir l'audience de son portail aux abonnés Neuf Cegetel.

Les services de Neuf Cegetel devraient coïncider avec ceux d'AOL, ces derniers ayant annoncé l'arrivée imminente de la télévision grâce au décodeur NetGem (utilisé également Neuf depuis plus d'un an).

(c) 01net et silicon.fr