With Verizon’s acquisition of AOL for £2.8 billion rumours of several large scale deals are being thrown into the wind, some with a much higher price tag than AOL.
The biggest rumour circling is Google’s interest in Twitter. The microblogging service dropped heavily in market share due to a recent disappointing quarterly report, leading to speculation it could be up for sale.
Google was the first to jump at the opportunity and despite Twitter’s founder venomously against being acquired by the search engine, investors and advisors might push the deal, said to be worth around £15-20 billion.
Another mega acquisition rumour is Microsoft’s interest in Salesforce.com, which could be worth up to £40 billion. Salesforce is apparently looking for a suitor, following a few years of low growth in the cloud market, currently getting swallowed up by Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and IBM.
This deal would give Microsoft the largest platform-as-a-service provider, alongside other tools to add to its growing Azure platform. Oracle is also in the running for the deal, although Microsoft’s new advancement in cloud computing would point to an aggressive bidding war to grab Salesforce.
As odd as it sounds, Apple might be planning to acquire BlackBerry for £8-12 billion. Apple wants BlackBerry’s massive 44,000 patent portfolio, along with its enterprise networking and security.
BlackBerry already had a suitor in Samsung a few months ago, but talks broke down a few weeks later. Apple is now eyeing up the Ontario-based mobile provider, but if it does sell we doubt any more BlackBerry phones will be manufactured.
Yahoo is planning to acquire social navigation and mapping service Foursquare for £600 million, in an effort to put Yahoo on the mapping market. It plans to develop its own mapping platform for Foursquare to work on, and integrate Foursquare’s services into Yahoo’s own.
Similar to the Tumblr deal, Yahoo will keep Foursquare independent but utilise its services to make its own apps smarter. It can also use Foursquare’s location advertising for its new push into mobile advertising, something Foursquare already offers.
Yelp brought in Goldman Sachs in order to find a buyer for the consumer-review site, preparing to sell for £2-4 billion. Google, Yahoo, Rakuten and Amazon are all in the running for the company.
Amazon has shown it is a better fit for acquisition than Google before, with Twitch.TV choosing the e-commerce giant over Google. It makes sense Yelp would also trust Amazon over Google, considering the search giant has tried to crush Yelp at every opportunity.
Yahoo is also a major contender, with enough capital available to acquire Yelp outright. The question is how does Yelp fit into Yahoo’s plan of mobile and advertising, the two markets it is trying to tackle?
Yahoo might seem favorable social appeal to Yelp, but not in the same vein as Foursquare or Tumblr. Marissa Mayer is already becoming a nuisance for investors, with lacklustre operating revenue or profit since she took charge two years ago - this acquisition might be the start of an outsting.
Uber-Nokia’s Here Maps
Uber is planning a £2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s Here Maps division. It plans to raise £1.3 billion in venture capital funding alongside its own cash to support the deal - Uber’s largest acquisition to date.
Other companies are in the running, Facebook, Baidu and Microsoft are reportedly interested in the mapping service. A German car consortium and private equity firm are also in the running, but likely to be outbid by the US corporations.
Axel Springer-The Huffington Post
In the deal with Verizon, AOL planned to sell The Huffington Post to German news conglomerate Axel Springer. An exact price was not mentioned, but The Huffington Post is one of the largest US news websites and prime for Axel Springer, who are looking to get more involved online after its German Google News fiasco.
AOL has commented stating The Huffington Post is not for sale, but Re/Code’s Kara Swisher has insider knowledge linking Axel Springer and others to an intended sale. For now, Engadget and TechCrunch are both safe from the axe.