Apr 09

Local Reviews startup Burrp is acquired by Infomedia 18

Infomedia 18 has acquired local reviews site Burrp. Financial terms of the deal have not been revealed. Burrp had earlier secured angel funding from Haresh Chawla, CEO of Network 18, which owns InfoMedia.

While Burrp recently had an uptick in traffic, it is lagging behind AskLaila, one of its main competitors.

burrp asklaila traffic

via VCCircle

Acquisition / India Startups2 comments

Dec 08

Yahoo acquires stake in voice based search company INMAC

Yahoo has acquired a 30% stake in Info Network Management Company (INMAC), a Chennai based company that specializes in phone directory search.  The investment provides Yahoo a board seat on INMAC. The investment will mainly provide Yahoo with an opportunity to integrate INMAC’s voice search technology product, called Call Ezee,  into its local / web search services. The size of the investment wasnt revealed.

The Call Ezee service is currently available across 14 Indian cities. Users can call the local Call Ezee number from any mobile – landline and request details about a local business.

Earlier, Google India had launched voice based search in Hyderabad and Delhi that will provide you local business info, movie showtimes and flight status information.

via ET

Acquisition / InternetNo comments

Nov 08

Infibeam acquires Picsquare

Nikhil reports that InfiBeam has acquired Picsquare. Picsquare was one of the first startups that I covered on StartupDunia.

No details about the deal are available, but assuming that Picsquare had a lucrative exit, want to congratulate Manish and Kartik on the successful exit.

Acquisition4 comments

Jun 08

Expedia acquires TravelGuru stake – No Deal

Nikhil has an update from TravelGuru CEO Ashwin Damera that ongoing rumors of Expedia acquiring majority stake in TravelGuru for $17 million are mere speculation and that no deal has been signed.

Just like everyone else reported, a $17 million for a majority stake would be just like a desperate deal. Something seemed very odd about the numbers.

Acquisition / India Funding / Internet1 comment

Feb 08

Somebody buy MouthShut already

If there’s one Indian site that has been executing exceptionally well since the Web 1.0 days, its undoubtedly Since inception, they’ve constantly innovated and evolved and over time, have amassed a huge,huge number of user generated reviews. Not to mention the strong community that has developed on the site. Never mind if they dont get as many blog mentions as some of the more newer startups.

So, why should someone buy MouthShut ?

As per a recent survey by Nielsen, 73% of Internet accessing Indians trust online user reviews over other means of advertising. That is more than advertising on TV, radio, magazines and search engine / online banner ads. Considering that MouthShut is the main (and probably only) consumer reviews site for the Indian subcontinent, you can only imagine how much influence it yields on the average, online, Indian user.

So, who should buy MouthShut ?

Amongst the international players, I’d say Yahoo, MSN, eBay and AOL. Yahoo has always been a proponent of community building, but considering the recent turmoil surrounding Yahoo, I’d say they have other things on their mind. MSN and AOL are both laggards when it comes to their Indian presence. Buying MouthShut would give them a good boost in terms of traffic, community and a decent competitive edge over Google and Yahoo. Of course, buying MouthShut would make the most sense for eBay, since MouthShut strategically fits very well into, the reviews site owned by eBay.

Amongst the home grown portals, I’d say HT Media should seriously consider it – they’ve been lagging the other Indian portals as far as their online strategy goes. Since they’re playing catch up, they might as well consider growing inorganically.

I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Acquisition / Internet44 comments

Dec 07

Bogus: Zapak buys Sony Online Entertainment

ContentSutra pointed to a story in ET about Zapak acquiring Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) for $300 million. Just like Nikhil, I had my own doubts about the deal — $300 million is too small a price for a company making $150 million in revenues.

Its now reported that the rumor is bogus and is SOE has denied any such deal.

The ET story has since been taken down.  Way to go ET !!

Acquisition / India GamingNo comments

Dec 07

TravelGuru acquires Desiya for Rs 100 crore ($25 million)

The first major act of consolidation in the online travel portal industry in India. TravelGuru ($42 million revenue this fiscal) has acquired B2B hotel portal Desiya for $25 million (Rs 100 crores).

TravelGuru has raised $25 million in funding over two rounds.

via ET 

Acquisition / InternetNo comments

Dec 07

HT Media acquires DesiMartini – a few thoughts

While skimming through the Web 2.0 coverage I’d missed over the last month and a half, the HT Media – DesiMartini deal caught my attention. Simply put, I was astonished by the jaw-dropping < $10 million acquisition price – a sentiment echoed through the Indian blogosphere.

Why was HT Media shopping for a social networking site ?

Recently, HT Media has been very aggressive in the Internet space. Spun off their Internet properties under Firefly eventures, launched the online edition of Mint, their business paper, revamped the HindustanTimes website, ventured into online classifieds etc. Did the social networking fad catch the fancy of a HT Media exec or did they feel threatened by the aggressive push for BigAdda by Reliance ADAG ? Or do they just have an extra pile of cash lying around ? We wont know for sure what prompted HT Media to foray into the social networking scene.

Why DesiMartini ?

Assuming that HT Media was looking to acquire a social networking site, what options were out there in the market ? Yaari, DesiMartini, MingleBox, Fropper, BigAdda and IndyaRocks. BigAdda and Fropper are ruled out, considering that they are owned by ‘competitors’ (Reliance ADAG and People Interactive Pvt Ltd). Yaari appears way beyond defunct to me. Minglebox valuation would be way higher considering that they got a $7 mill Sequoia funding. So, the only options that remain are DesiMartini and IndyaRocks. While it is unknown if HT Media approached IndyaRocks, the price tag for IndyaRocks would definitely be higher than DesiMartini, considering that the former gets ~10 million pageviews as opposed to the latter’s ~2.5 million. That leaves DesiMartini as the only cheap, viable option out there (this is what I think – differing opinions welcome).

The acquisition price

While the price was quoted as a vague “less than $10 million” in most of the media, Vivek Pahwa, DesiMartini founder, clarified that the acquisition price was “significantly less” than $10 million. Considering that Vivek is now doing seed investments of less than $200K in other Internet startups, I’m taking the liberty to assume that probably the acquisition price was in the $2.5 million range (just a hunch).

With a user base of 250,000, this puts the valuation at $10 per user (a higher acquisition price and this valuation would jump even more). Compare this to $21 per user that Fox paid to acquire Myspace (27 million unique visitors at time of deal). Digg, with a user base of 18 million, would make $16.30 per user if acquired for $300 million.

That makes you wonder (and evokes the jaw dropping reaction) — is the HT Media – DesiMartini deal for real ? DesiMartini is a shabby, half-ass, semi-defunct rip-off. Does it make sense to even cough up $1 million for it ? Wouldnt it be a better idea (and way cheaper) to build your own social networking site ? And leverage your existing channels (print, web, radio) to market it ? The argument of getting a direct entry by acquiring an existing player doesnt fit too well with me either. HT Media wasnt in a Microsoft-like deparate scenario, where they were so late to the game that they had to cough up a premium to gain entry.

All in all, either Vivek is a really smart entrepreneur and/or someone was asleep/clueless at the helm over at HT Media.

So, what does this deal mean for the Indian Web 2.0 scene ?

Whether this acquisition sets off a trend among other media houses (ABP, MidDay, IndiaTimes etc.) remains to be seen. If it happens, it would definitely be good for the other Indian social networking sites out there – who, otherwise lack a viable exit strategy.  This in turn could garner some mainstream attention for the Web 2.0 scene in India.

Acquisition / India Social Networking4 comments

Sep 07

Reliance ADAG in talks to buy out Seventymm ?

Matrix Partners backed Seventymm announced in June that they had acquired 100% stake in another online DVD rental player, Madhouse.

Now, LiveMint reports that Seventymm may very well be on way to be acquired by an even bigger fish – Reliance Entertainment Ltd., a part of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG). As per the story, two senior execs at R-ADAG and Seventymm said that negotiations were at an advanced stage. With 25,000 customers and 15,000 titles, a Seventymm acquisition gives R-ADAG a direct entry into the DVD rental business.

R-ADAG also recently launched their own entertainment portal, BigFlicks. I guess Seventymm assets would complement the online, entertainment on-demand portal ?

Acquisition10 comments

Aug 07

Google acquires stake in Chinese social networking site

Ok..Not related to the Indian market, but definitely a high impact news – Google, who’s China efforts have been less than stellar thus far, has acquired an undisclosed stake in Chinese social network site – Various media reports put the stake anywhere between 10 – 60 %.

Google, which comes a distant second to the Chinese search engine, has been playing catchup in the Chinese market and has recently ramped up its efforts to make headway in China, which is now the worlds second biggest internet market (~162 million internet users) after the US.

via Reuters

Acquisition / InternetNo comments