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Posts Tagged ‘Pure Digital Technologies’

Article from GigaOm.

“Cisco is giving up on its barely two-year-old $590 million purchase of Pure Digital Technologies, announcing today that it is closing its Flip business unit and cutting 550 employees as part of a larger restructuring. The move comes after clear signs that the outsized deal was not paying off for the technology giant, which is in the midst of refocusing its business on its core networking business.

Cisco said it will close the Flip business, but will continue to support current Flipshare customers who upload and share media to the web. Cisco said it will also refocus its Home Networking business to make it more profitable and connected to the company’s networking infrastructure. It will also move Umi, its consumer Telepresence, into the business Telepresence line and sell it through an enterprise and service provider go-to-market model.

“We are making key, targeted moves as we align operations in support of our network-centric platform strategy,” CEO John Chambers said in a statement. “As we move forward, our consumer efforts will focus on how we help our enterprise and service provider customers optimize and expand their offerings for consumers, and help ensure the network’s ability to deliver on those offerings.”

The closure of the Flip unit comes a couple months after former Pure Digital CEO Jonathan Kaplan left Cisco, prompting questions about the direction of the Flip line of video cameras. Cisco bought Pure in March of 2009, saying the purchase was about extending its presence into the consumer electronics business. The company was also looking to use Pure’s smarts in simple consumer electronics design to rework its home networking business. While the deal has helped Cisco create a new line of more consumer friendly home routers, it didn’t really change the company much, a task that Om mentioned recently is incredibly hard for large companies. And it hasn’t resulted in a big revenue driver in video cam sales.

That’s because while Flip grew fast with its single purpose design, which managed to move millions of units, its continued growth was checked by the rise of smartphones that can increasingly shoot HD video while offering more wireless sharing options, something Flip’s camera’s never included, an irony for a networking company. Another new consumer business, Umi, a home video conferencing product, has also failed to capture a lot of buzz, in part because of its high price. With Kaplan headed toward the door, we speculated that the deal for Pure had turned into a flop.

Now it appears that Cisco is making that conclusion official. CEO John Chambers earlier this month laid out a major reorganization for the company in a memo to employees outlining how the company would refocus on five areas: core routing, switching and services; collaboration; architectures; and video. While Chambers said Cisco would still focus on video, it appears he was not referring to Flip. This deals a major blow to the idea of a single-purpose simple video cam, which may still have a niche place in the market. But while Cisco jettisons Flip, and admits defeat, the move shows the company is clearly serious about retrenching and getting back to basics.”

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Here is a good VC article from Alibaba.

“BURLINGAME, Calif. — Marc Andreessen, in a recent Forbes interview, noted there are hundreds of venture-capital outfits slogging it out right now, trying desperately to squeeze profits out of a terrible investing environment–but only a handful worth their salt.

He’s right. And this week’s news that Amazon.com ( AMZN – news – people ) would buy online-shoe retailer Zappos for $807 million in Amazon stock, plus some cash, highlights the staying power of one of those perennial Sand Hill Road stars, Sequoia Capital.

Sequoia is the notoriously tough firm that backed winners like Google ( GOOG – news – people ), Apple ( AAPL – news – people ), Cisco ( CSCO – news – people ), YouTube and PayPal. (I could go on.) It also owned a big chunk of Zappos, a company with a somewhat unlikely business model that excelled by providing unparalleled customer service and shoe selection on the Web. Sequoia recently told its investors it put about $48 million into Zappos and will get just over $169 million from the Amazon transaction. That’s not a “home run” in VC parlance. But it’s a very respectable return of about three-and-a-half times Sequoia’s original investment, particularly in these depressed times.

In the first six months of this year, there were only four tech-related M&A deals of over $100 million involving companies that took venture capital, according to Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association. (There were a few VC-backed IPOs in the first half, too, but no blockbusters.) The biggest of the tech M&A deals, Cisco Systems‘ $590 million purchase of camcorder maker Pure Digital Technologies, also involved Sequoia, which owned a small stake.

Sequoia’s profits from that deal were very small, but it still made a nice return: Sequoia told its investors in March that it invested just over $1.4 million in Pure Digital and would receive $13 million in Cisco shares and $1 million in cash after the acquisition. (The biggest VC-related deal in the first half of this year was Medtronic’s ( MDT – news – people ) $700 million purchase of CoreValve, a company with a new catheter technology to improve heart-valve replacements. Sequoia doesn’t do health care investing.) Plenty of other VCs have sold companies in fire sales this year for less than what investors put into them.”

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Here is article from USA Today. As the crisis starts to ebb out, the downsizing has produced piles of cash at some companies.

“SAN FRANCISCO — There could be a thaw in the months-long stagnant market for tech mergers and acquisition.

Data-storage companies EMC (EMC) and NetApp are dueling to buy Data Domain for at least $1.8 billion. Last week, chipmaker Intel (INTC) said it would buy testing and development software maker Wind River Systems for $884 million.

The quarter’s big catch was when Oracle (ORCL) snapped up Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion.

While hardly a buying spree, the uptick could signal a break for what has been a sluggish tech M&A market since the third quarter of last year.

So far, $17.9 billion has been spent on tech mergers in the U.S. in the current quarter — more than the previous two quarters combined, according to market researcher Thomson Reuters.

The activity reflects one byproduct of a sour economy: Big tech companies sitting on piles of cash are willing to spend some of it to aggressively pick up innovative start-ups as well as rivals with customers and market share.

The deals come at a time when venture capital funding is scarce for start-ups and there are scant initial public offerings.

“People historically make their money when they invest consistently, even during downturns,” says Keith Larson, vice president of Intel Capital, the company’s venture-capital arm. The company has said that it will spend $7 billion over two years to build advanced manufacturing facilities in the U.S.

“Almost the worst thing you can do is pull back during a downturn and miss out on buying opportunities,” Larson says. “We have a multiyear road map on the technology side.”

Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers, who has navigated the venerable network-equipment maker through several downturns, has said companies willing to take calculated risks often emerge stronger from recessions.

A few established companies with ample cash reserves this year have bolstered their war chests with the intention of snapping up companies.

Cisco (CSCO), which sold $4 billion in bonds in February, has about $33.5 billion in cash reserves. It acquired Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the popular Flip video camera, for $590 million.

“If you have cash, it is a good time to fortify product lines and fuel growth,” says Cynthia Ringo, managing partner for VC firm DBL Investors.

So far this quarter, there have been 239 deals in the U.S., including the Oracle-Sun blockbuster. In the first three months of this year, there were 313 deals.”

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