Rakuten is often referred to by western media as "the Amazon of Japan." That description seems more and more apt given some of the mega-retailer's recent purchases, including Canadian e-reader company Kobo. Yesterday Rakuten announced that it had purchased Viber, an up-and coming voice-over-IP company with apps on Android, iOS, and Windows, among others, for a whopping $900 million.
Viber is primarily a Skype competitor, though it also offers text and picture messaging, group chat, and cross-communication between mobile and desktop operating systems. Read More
Yesterday social gaming giant Zynga purchased NaturalMotion, developers of notable mobile games including the CSR Racing series, Backbreaker Football, and the official Jenga game for iOS and Android. TechCrunch reports that the $527 million purchase includes $391 million in cash and 39.8 million shares of Zynga stock. NaturalMotion operates offices in London, Oxford, Brighton, and San Francisco.
Zynga has plenty of apps for iOS and Android, notably Words With Friends and the official sequel to Draw Something (which Zynga got from another acquisition, OMGPop). Read More
Update: Google has announced that the deal is official on its investor relations site, and Motorola had its say too. The deal is worth $2.91 billion, with $1.41 billion paid at closing ($660m in cash and $750m in stock). Lenovo gets 2000 patents in the deal, plus a licensing arrangement with Google. Original post follows.
Google is always doing surprising things, but this is probably not something anyone would have predicted yesterday. Read More
Google has reportedly closed a deal to acquire a London-based artificial intelligence startup called DeepMind. Google buys things all the time, but this time Mountain View has agreed to pay a huge sum of money for DeepMind. Sources are reporting the deal could have been valued as high as $500 million, or 0.5 Instagrams.
In an odd bit of M&A news, the developers at Bitspin announced that the small company will be joining forces with Google. Whether Google has purchased the company outright or merely hired its Zurich-based development team isn't clear, but in either case, the big G will be benefitting from their impressive user interface experience soon. Google has not commented on the situation, and there is no dollar amount posted on the Bitspin website. Read More
The Chameleon Launcher turned some heads when it more than doubled its goal on Kickstarter last year. The final product wasn't quite as amazing as we hoped it would be, but Teknision did at least deliver the app to Google Play. It appears that Teknision is moving on now – it has been acquired by a company called Synacor. Never heard of it? Don't feel bad – you are not alone. Read More
It was only about six weeks ago that we were reporting on the shiny new Android app from Sold, the dead-simple aftermarket service that promised to make getting cash for your used gadgets and other semi-precious items as easy as dropping them in a box. This morning the company announced that they had been acquired by cloud storage giant Dropbox for an undisclosed sum.
As of now, Sold is not accepting new items for cash sales. Read More
A report in L'Expansion claims that Google has finalized the acquisition of FlexyCore, an optimization company based in Rennes, France, for 16.9 million Euros (just over $23 million USD). Google confirmed the sale to GigaOM, but did not comment on the price or purpose. The French website says that Google has been processing the acquisition for over a year and finally closed the deal earlier this month.
FlexyCore is a five-year-old company founded by Gilbert Cabillic, a former head researcher for Texas Instruments. Read More
Gamevil (or GAMEVIL, if you're reading the press release) is a South Korean mobile developer and publisher best known for the Zenonia series of action RPGs, among many others. Com2us (or Com2uS, likewise) is another South Korean mobile developer and publisher best known for the Homerun Battle series of sports games, among many others. Today Gamevil bought Com2us. Hooray for the happy couple.
These companies are so similar that it's barely surprising that they're tying the knot. Read More
Portable speakers and premium phone cases are two great tastes that taste great together, at least if you've got enough disposable income to afford both on top of your expensive smartphone. In a consolidation of the high-end accessory world, California-based case maker Incipio has purchased Braven, the Utah-based maker of a line of portable Bluetooth speakers.
Both companies tend to skew towards the higher end of the accessory market. Incipio likes to go for the low-hanging fruit of the iPad and iPhone (though they do have plenty of accessories for the more popular Android phone and tablet models) while Braven's Bluetooth speakers are device-agnostic in nature. Read More