In keeping with our mission to provide comprehensive advertising analysis, MediaRadar puts together a report of the most important mergers and acquisitions news each week. Stay in the loop, whether you sell advertising space or focus on business development.
This week, Microsoft acquired Softomotive. Verizon finalized its purchase of BlueJeans — which began last year before COVID-19 was on the radar. Facebook is buying Giphy to integrate with Instagram (and perhaps gather data on competitors).
Microsoft grows its Power Automate platform with Softomotive
Microsoft has acquired software robotic process automation (RPA) company Softomotive. The financial details of the transaction have not been made public.
The organization will become part of Microsoft’s Power Automate platform. Softomotive’s low-code desktop automation solution, WinAutomation is now available to current Power Automate users in addition to the 9,000 previous Softomotive customers.
Combining WinAutomation with Power Automate increases the amount and variety of tools, as well as additional options for RPA desktop authoring so users can build a bot and automate Windows-based tasks.
Increasing RPA capabilities will allow Power Automate clients to automate monotonous, repetitive tasks traditionally performed by human workers. Softomotive was founded in 2005, and had raised $25 million in venture capital prior to the acquisition.
Verizon finalizes purchase of BlueJeans
Verizon has completed an acquisition of video conferencing service BlueJeans in a deal valued around $400 million.
Though the move may appear directly reactionary to the massive shift toward remote working in the wake of the Corona pandemic, the two companies had been discussing a potential acquisition since the middle of 2019.
Though BlueJeans CEO Quentin Gallivan admitted “the discussions became very different” after March 16 when traffic on BlueJeans’ service lept 300%. By the first week of April, traffic had increased by 1,000% compared to pre-pandemic times.
BlueJeans currently serves 15,000 clients, and the conferencing service will assist Verizon’s corporate clients in building telemedicine, remote learning and virtual training services.
The acquisition is part of an effort to bolster Verizon’s business group as the carrier rolls out faster 5G networks. BlueJeans added the service to some of its first 5G-powered smartphones from Samsung to show off the capabilities of the network.
Verizon will use BlueJeans to compete with Zoom, Microsoft and Google in the rapidly expanding market of virtual conferencing platforms.
Facebook to purchase Giphy
Facebook is purchasing Giphy, an animated images database and search engine for approximately $400 million. Giphy will join as a subsidiary of Instagram.
Backed by $150 million in venture startup funding, Giphy has built up a user base of 65 million monthly active users since it launched in 2013. The other major player in the GIF game, Tenor, was gobbled up in an acquisition by Google back in 2018.
Facebook plans to build tighter integrations between Giphy and its own social media platforms since more than half of the GIFs sent though Giphy are shared through Facebook-owned apps.
But Facebook may have more nefarious reasons to acquire Giphy. Giphy integrates with iMessage, TikTok, Slack, Snapchat and Twitter, all of whom compete with Facebook in some capacity. Facebook may be able to use data from Giphy to keep tabs on competitors and identify potential business threats.
In Other News
Keep up with the other developments from the week:
- Intel Corp. announced that it has acquired Rivet Networks, maker of Killer-branded network interface cards used for connecting devices in a network.
- Amazon is reportedly in talks to acquire the embattled retail chain J.C. Penney, which filed for bankruptcy last week and announced the closing of more than 250 stores amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- According to the Wall Street Journal, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. is reportedly seeking buyers for its $20 billion-worth shares in T-Mobile US Inc.
- During its latest quarterly earnings report, Walmart announced that it is shutting down its eCommerce site Jet.com nearly four years after it acquired the brand for $3.3 billion.