Investment Research: Continued Shift

September 10, 2008 § 1 Comment

Ongoing market turmoil and the intensifying financial crunch have accelerated ongoing shift within the investment research industry. This morning Credit Suisse and the Gerson Lehrman Group announced a strategic partnership that will 1) give Credit Suisse analysts access to GLG consultants; 2) give GLG clients access to Credit Suisse analysts; 3) give GLG access to Credit Suisse distribution channels.

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Last.fm bought by CBS

May 30, 2007 § Leave a comment

The last time I posted about Last.fm and Pandora, they were worried about being run out of business by a rising RIAA fee structure. Last.fm and Pandora are certainly still vulnerable to such rate hikes, but it doesn’t seem to be a big worry to CBS, who reportedly is purchasing Last.fm for $280m. I recently started using Pandora because I think the music stream seems to be a bit more consistent – Last.fm cuts out for me fairly consistently. However, it seems that social network side of Last.fm was the big factor in the price. Pandora, on the other hand, has a far less robust social aspect to their service but has many more device options.

Last.fm built their network in a very intelligent manner – the network is a sidenote to a very effective service. Last.fm works great for anyone who comes to use it…and by joining the network and tuning your “station” to your likes and dislikes the service only gets better. It is the second step that built huge value for the service.

Feedburner on Chicago

May 25, 2007 § Leave a comment

Today’s Wallstrip interview is with Feedburner CEO Dick Costolo. I recently posted about the Feedburner/Google acquisition rumors and how it would be a big event for Chicago if it were to go through. In his interview, Dick said he is long on Chicago but thinks “it needs to do something about its technology environment.” Interesting…I wonder what he has in mind.

When I tried to embed the Wallstrip video here, but it didn’t work (the embed link went to this dead link: wallstrip.cbsnews.comtheshow). Wallstrip was acquired by CBS on Wednesday, and now there are lots of dead links to Wallstrip out there, all with CBS in them, including the one on Wallstrip investor Fred Wilson’s blog linking to the acquisition announcement. Ironically, in his Wallstrip interview Costolo also said he was long on CBS…

Google + Feedburner = big for Chicago

May 23, 2007 § Leave a comment

TechCrunch is confirming a $100M term sheet between Google and Chicago based Feedburner, backed by Chicago based DFJ Portage. If this deal goes through, it will make Feedburner the biggest Chicago tech success in recent years…possibly the biggest since Orbitz? Also, assuming Feedburner stays where they are, it will make Chicago a significant non-Mountainview engineering location for Google.

Either way, Feedburner is great. I “burn my feeds” with them for this site and use their site to monitor my blog traffic. I’m a bit doubtful that Google will make $100M in feed based advertising from them, but history has shown that they don’t seem to care about such things.

Sam Zell & the Tribune deal

April 3, 2007 § Leave a comment

Interesting post on Sam Zell‘s legal background and the recent Tribune deal announcement on the WSJ law blog. They quote some other WSJ article on Zell’s background that struck several chords with me personally and professionally:

When he was a student at the University of Michigan School of Law, Mr. Zell spent part of his time managing apartment buildings, so he had contacts in real estate. But he had every intention of carving out a career in law. After graduation, he joined [Yates Holleb and Michelson] in Chicago. The starting salary was $116 a week, but an ambitious young lawyer could supplement that by bringing new business to the firm.

“I spent my first week drafting a contract,” Mr. Zell recalls. “It was deadly.” That weekend, he got in touch with some of his real-estate contacts, and “the following Monday I brought in my first deal, an apartment project in Toledo, Ohio. The partners liked it so much they all invested.” Thanks to deals like that one, Mr. Zell earned $100,000 his first year out of law school — $93,000 in commissions and $7,000 in pay — more than any of the firm’s senior partners. Never again would he formally practice law.

Comscore IPO

April 3, 2007 § Leave a comment

Web traffic aggregator Comscore has filed to go public. They had revenues of $66.3 million in 2006, and about $5.6 million in operating income. It will be interesting to see how they are received. ComScore is a neat company that provides a phenomenal product – definitely the most accurate and well respected traffic measurement source. They have a large panel of folks who give them their demographic information and have downloaded a form of opt in spyware that tracks where they go online. They then can cut their data in very interesting ways to give info to investors that base decisions on web traffic trends, as well as marketers looking for sites that target specific demographics.

While they generate great data, there are inherent flaws in this system, namely that they are only able to track traffic from those that download their spyware. So, their panel is skewed towards those that don’t care about downloading spyware (novice web users) and those that might want to download their app in order to impact the ComScore rankings (webmasters). Matt Cutts of Google has a great post summarizing his view on “an unnamed web metrics businss” and their interactions with Google in the early days here.

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