Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Gavin O'Malley, June 22, 2011, 11:11 AM
Hulu Debates Possible SaleThe Wall Street Journal

According to multiple reports, Yahoo -- or some other big company -- has approached Hulu about a possible takeover. "Hulu is weighing whether to sell itself ... its latest strategic crossroads as the fight over distributing TV content online intensifies," reports The Wall Street Journal, citing sources.

"On Tuesday afternoon, word of the unsolicited offer spread and was subsequently confirmed by people close to the company," Los Angeles Times writes. "It is not known whether the offer came from Yahoo or another entity."

"The unsolicited offer has prompted Hulu's board to consider its options, and the company is speaking to potential advisers," according to The New York Times, citing sources. "It may contact potential buyers, including other media companies and private-equity firms that have wanted the chance to buy the service."

 A single source tells TechCrunch that Yahoo, at least, has nothing to do with the Hulu talks. "Yahoo hasn't had any meaningful conversations with Hulu about a buyout," it writes. However, "The source added that Hulu is actively looking for a buyer and has hired Morgan Stanley to represent them."

Aside from Yahoo, what Web giant would want Hulu? "The acquisition approach has not been made by any of the current equity holders," sources tell Reuters. (For the record, that includes News Corp, Walt Disney, Comcast Corp's NBC Universal and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.) Either way, "Someone wants Hulu to be in play -- or at least the idea of a possible sale to be very public," as paidContent puts it.

"Although there has been interest in the company, it remains unclear whether its owners have any desire to sell," writes LAT. "Hulu has not taken any traditional steps associated with a sale such as retaining an investment bank to field offers. However, it is currently undergoing a restructuring that would give Chief Executive Jason Kilar and his executive team greater autonomy while imposing new rules on the availability of television content."

Read the whole story...
  • Gavin O'Malley, June 22, 2011, 11:11 AM
  • Going after local businesses, shopping app Shopkick has partnered with Citi to offer free service installation to its first 1,000 small business partners in 10 U.S. cities. "What's getting installed, anyway?" asks Business Insider. "A small box that sits in the store and emits an audio signal: That is how the Shopkick app verifies that you are actually inside the store, which is required before you can earn Shopkick points."

    Shopkick points, in case you're wondering, can be redeemed for real-money rewards, so merchants insist on making sure users are actually inside the store, not just "checking in" from wherever with, say, Foursquare. Not even a year old, Shopkick has already has had success partnering with big, nationwide chains, like Best Buy, Target, Macy's, and Crate and Barrel.

    Having already signed up nearly 2 million users, the company believes it grow much large through local-business partnerships. "Groupon, a quasi-competitor, has shown that an Internet company can get small, local businesses to participate in web deals ... So it's a good idea for Shopkick to try this," BI believes. Launch cities include New York, NY; Los Angeles and San Francisco/Bay Area, Calif; Seattle, Wash; and Washington D.C. Read the whole story...
  • Hoping to branch out into TV, mobile music service Shazam has reportedly raised $32 million from investors, including Kleiner Perkins and Institutional Venture Partners. "What Shazam is really excited about is television, which it sees as a bigger opportunity than music," according to All Things D, citing comments from company executives. "The company has embarked on a flurry of deals with networks like MTV and Syfy and advertisers like Old Navy."

    Select TV programs and ads now encourage viewers to "Shazam" them, using the audio recognition features of Shazam apps in order to receive bonus content and discounts. The company has over 140 million users -- who download apps and tag songs -- and is adding 1.2 million more per week. It also has millions of paying users for its subscription iPhone apps, as well as significant revenue from advertising and affiliate purchases, All Things D reports.

    The company sells at least 300,000 songs per day. Meanwhile, Shazam is joining a growing list of companies trying to get viewers to "check-in" on the Web while watching TV. Read the whole story...
  • How's Yahoo's turnaround coming? Don't ask Michael Arrington. Under the snarky headline, "Yahoo's 360 Turnaround," TechCrunch's co-editor insists that things are going from bad to worse for the Web portal.

    "Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has long promised a turnaround at the lagging company." The only thing Yahoo seems to be doing, however, is "spinning in circles." As a result, Yahoo is quietly looking at replacement CEO candidates, according to Arrington. "Fox Digital Chief Jon Miller has had 'early and unofficial' discussions with the Yahoo board of directors about taking over as CEO," he writes. "It's thought that Yahoo board member David Kenny, who's long wanted the job, is also a current candidate."

    Worse yet, sources tell Arrington that Yahoo's financial results will be significantly below what the street expects, even after expectations were lowered in May. Adds Arrington, "We expect significant revisions to the guidance Yahoo will be giving analysts going forward based on what we've heard, particularly for the last half of the year." Read the whole story...
  • Mobile devices -- i.e., iPads, Android phones, and tablets -- have overtaken computers on Wi-Fi networks, according to a new report from cloud networking provider Meraki. "It's another sign that mobile is increasingly the way people access the Internet, bypassing traditional computers in their hunt for information," comments GigaOm.
    ,br> Last year, according to the report, Windows and Mac OS X accounted for 64% of devices that accessed Wi-Fi networks, while Appple's iOS accounted for 32%, and Android represented a measly 1%. Just a year later, iOS -- bolstered by the iPad -- and Android now represent 58% of Wi-Fi devices, while Windows and Mac OS X account for 36%. The iPhone was the most popular device on Wi-Fi networks, with a 32% share, while Android now accounts for 11% of devices on Meraki's networks.

    Notes GigaOm, "Those numbers will certainly increase for Android as its installed base grows." Meraki also found that the iPad was a power device, consuming almost 200 megabytes per month, about four times as much as the average for Android, iPhone and iPod touch devices. Read the whole story...