Carlos Slim Invests in Shazam to Expand its Advertising Biz

The British music identification app, Shazam, recently received a $40 million investment from the world’s second richest man, Carlos Slim. Not known for seeding startups, Slim first made his fortune in the Mexican mobile phone industry, so funding a mobile app company is not farfetched. With Slim’s investment, Shazam is positioned to expand its current services in advertising and looks to grow in new international markets. Continue reading Carlos Slim Invests in Shazam to Expand its Advertising Biz

Facebook Targets News Aggregation in Latest Mobile Effort

Facebook has been quietly working on a service called Reader that could essentially become a newspaper for mobile devices, according to inside sources. The service, which has reportedly been in development for more than a year, displays content from the social network’s users and publishers in a new visual format designed specifically for smartphones and tablets. Recent versions have been similar to mobile news aggregator Flipboard. Continue reading Facebook Targets News Aggregation in Latest Mobile Effort

Twitter Ads Service Now Available for All U.S. Businesses

Following three years of partner testing, Twitter has announced the general availability of its advertising services for U.S. businesses. Kevin Weil, Twitter’s senior director of product for revenue, made the announcement on stage yesterday during the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City. The launch of Twitter Ad services could increase company revenue in preparation for an anticipated IPO. Continue reading Twitter Ads Service Now Available for All U.S. Businesses

Groupon Changes Business Plans as Search for CEO Begins

Groupon announced it has begun its search for a new CEO to replace Andrew Mason. Groupon’s stock has fallen more than 75 percent since its IPO, including a 20 percent drop after reporting its fourth-quarter earnings. The company may need to effectively transition from its past as a daily deals company to a future more focused on standing deals, discounted product sales and international business. Continue reading Groupon Changes Business Plans as Search for CEO Begins

Financial Analyst Weighs Pros and Cons of Zynga $7 Billion IPO

  • In an analysis of Zynga’s pricy IPO, Forbes contributor Peter Cohan advises investors to “avoid this stock.”
  • “Social media gaming sweat shop Zynga filed to sell 14.3 percent, or 100 million, of its shares, valuing the lot at $7 billion,” he writes. “Should you pay the price to get in on its IPO? No.”
  • Zynga does have some things working in its favor: 1) It operates in the highly profitable virtual goods market that is expected to more than double by 2014; 2) It has a competitive advantage with the largest player audience on Facebook and 383 percent annual growth rate from 2008 to 2010; and 3) It has the ability to sustain its leadership position. “In October, Zynga announced Project Z that would lessen Zynga’s dependence on Facebook users. If that and its effort to go mobile work, Zynga would be in a stronger long-term position,” suggest the article.
  • So why not invest? Zynga’s IPO valuation is too high relative to its competitors; its growth is slowing down; and, its net income shrank for the majority of 2011 leaving “razor thin” 3.7 percent net profit margins. “No amount of sweat-shopping will fix Zynga’s slowing growth,” reports Cohan.

Zynga Going Public: Insiders Anticipate Value at $20 Billion

  • The Zynga Game Network, maker of online video games, is expected to file for its initial public stock offering this week.
  • The company’s games, including “Cityville” and “Farmville” are immensely popular on Facebook, with 270 million active users.
  • The stock sale is expected to value the company between $15 and $20 billion, making it one of the largest technology offerings since Google’s IPO in 2004.

Projected Facebook Earnings Raise IPO Speculation

Facebook Inc. is expected to have its initial public offering as early as next spring, while projected earnings and evolving online advertising models continue to raise speculation about the company’s overall value. The social network’s business is growing faster than its forecast of several months ago when Goldman Sachs Group and Digital Sky Technologies invested $1.5 billion. The Wall Street Journal reports the Internet company may earn as much as $2 billion in 2011.

Facebook was launched in February 2004 and claims more than 600 million active users today. According to WSJ: “Goldman’s and Digital Sky Technologies’ investment reported early this year was at a share price that implied a $50 billion valuation for Facebook. The people familiar with the company’s recent finances said they thought its profit was growing at a fast-enough clip to justify a valuation of $100 billion or more when it goes public.”

Additionally, eMarketer estimates that Facebook will earn ad revenue this year of $4.05 billion, more than doubling last year’s $1.86 billion. According to comScore, 31 percent of all online display ads in the U.S. for the first quarter of 2011 appeared on Facebook.

Wedbush Securities analyst Lou Kerner estimates the company’s value in the public market at $112.9 billion. “Part of our bullishness for Facebook is our belief that it is still in the embryonic stages of advertising,” he said.

Related San Francisco Chronicle article: “Why Google Should Buy LinkedIn, Now Before It’s Too Late” (5/3/11)

Related Mashable article: “One Year Later: What Marketers Have Learned About Facebook’s Open Graph” (4/26/11)

Related CNBC article: “Facebook Launches Deals Program, Rivals Groupon” (4/26/11)

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