Tag: acquisition

A Cuil Roundup (and countdown to acquisition starts today)

Cuil, the latest “Google killer”…

Cuil is getting a lot of coverage – it’s on the front page of Drudge too…


It makes me think that the long standing love affair with the Google brand is fading (or has already faded). That, or folks need something to write about on a Monday morning and Cuil has a good PR team.

In the long run, I suspect the mainsteam is going to catch the buzz and type “COOL” dot com into their browsers, much to a domain squatter’s pleasure. But I don’t think that is going to matter – Cuil launched today, but that doesn’t mean it was created yesterday, nor were it’s founders or funders born yesterday either. The company was founded in ’05, and has garnered roughly $33 million over two rounds of funding (data here). Add the recent acquisition of Powerset (who itself had just launched) by Microsoft, and one could surmise Cuil won’t be independent very long.

With Google pushing into the content space with Knol, I’d be placing my bet on the flip-side – a traditional content producer (think major media) pushing back.

UPDATE: Fair is fair…ReadWriteWeb chimes in – Cuil is good, but not great.

UPDATE 2: Still more, from Forbes (including how Cuil got started).


Getting into the “about to be acquired” mindset

There is a lot more to being acquired than hiring a lawyer and pumping out a set of long-term projections. Deals fall down for unexpected reasons, and at times for reasons expected by the suitor but not by the target.

AskTheVC has started a series on the subject, and it begins like this:

Potential acquirers are typically trustworthy and sincere in their intent when conducting due diligence, with making an acquisition the goal rather than gathering competitive intelligence. However, some may enter the process with both goals, and a few may actually have bad intentions.

Fair enough.

If you’ve done dozens of deals and are now comfortably in the plus column (meaning collection of Ferraris in the garage), you might be thinking “I just throw a break-up fee in every term sheet to solve those types of problems.” Yes, economic incentive to close a deal does work, and the latter types of acquirers AskTheVC mentions will probably get turned away pretty quick if access to the deal is “priced” accordingly. Unfortunately, the budding startup jockey or middle market owner-operator rarely has the opportunity to install breakup fees. And don’t get so comfortable with your prized lawyer’s writing skills that you begin believing a bi-lateral confidentiality agreement is all you need either.

Rather than steal any thunder about to roll over the hills, I suggest you follow these guys over the next few days – you may learn something.

Cisco eats spam

Now that they’ve purchased IronPort Systems, there’s an anti-spam appliance in the portfolio they can now push.

The purchase price was a whopping $830 million. With spam now on even grandma’s mind, I suspect IronPort could have garnered an even higher market cap in the public markets, making it a good deal for Cisco. It’s probably also a good one for IronPort’s CFO Craig Collins – he doesn’t have to write the S-1 and/or play Sarbanes-Oxley jockey going forward.

It’s January 4 – the analysts are batting a thousand right now.