Mergers and Acquisitions

Business • Markets
Square acquires the majority stake of TIDAL in a $297 million deal
Square Logo
Square Logo Credit: Square Inc.

Square, Jack Dorsey’s digital payments company, is acquiring a majority ownership stake in the music streaming service TIDAL. Jay-Z, who bought Tidal in 2015 for $56 million, will join Square’s board of directors.

Jack Dorsey tweeted: "Square is acquiring a majority ownership stake in TIDAL through a new joint venture, with the original artists becoming the second largest group of shareholders, and JAY-Z joining the Square board. Why would a music streaming company and a financial services company join forces?!"

"I said from the beginning that TIDAL was about more than just streaming music, and six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists at every point in their careers," said Jay-Z.

Technology • Internet & Web
American private equity firm to acquire MyHeritage for reportedly $600m
MyHeritage family tree on desktop
MyHeritage family tree on desktop Credit: MyHeritage

American private equity firm Francisco Partners is acquiring Israeli online genealogy platform MyHeritage for an alleged sum of $6 million according to a source close to the deal, The Verge reports. MyHeritage was founded in 2003 and counts around 62 million active users and approx. 13 billion historical records.

Business • Markets
DNA-testing firm 23andMe to go public as a $3.5 billion through Richard Branson-backed SPAC deal
23andme test kit
23andme test kit Credit: Nicki Dugan Pogue (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A blank-check firm, backed by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, is taking consumer DNA-testing firm 23andMe public in a deal that values the merged entity at $3.5 billion, both companies said on Thursday. The company will trade under the symbol “ME” on the New York Stock Exchange.

A SPAC, or a blank-check firm, is a shell company that raises funds in an initial public offering (IPO) to acquire a private company, becoming public due to the merger.

Over the years, 23andMe has become popular with consumers, and in 2018 caught the eye of GlaxoSmithKline, which invested $300 million in the Silicon Valley company, best known for its saliva-based test kits that offer users a glimpse into their genetic ancestry.

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter acquires newsletter service Revue
Twitter acquires newsletter service Revue
Credit: Twitter, Revue

Twitter has acquired newsletter service Revue, "a service that makes it free and easy for anyone to start and publish editorial newsletters." In a blog post, the company stated that the acquisition would help offer "writers, experts and curators – from individual creators to journalists to publishers themselves" to "create and share their content, and importantly, help them grow and better connect with their audience."

Business • Markets
Office Depot rejected a takeover attempt by office supply rival, Staples
Office Depot store
Office Depot store Credit: The ODP Corporation

However, the parent company of Office Depot said it is open to a different kind of a deal, such as selling its retail and e-commerce businesses to Staples or agreeing to a joint venture, according to the report.

In a letter, ODP Chairman Joseph Vassalluzzo wrote that a deal that's not a full takeover "could be executed more efficiently and with far greater certainty and less regulatory risk than your proposal." He wrote the letter to Stefan Kaluzny, the managing director of Sycamore Partners and a board member of USR Parent, the subsidiary over Staples.

This was the third attempt by Staples to acquire Office Depot.

Business • Markets
Staples proposes buying rival Office Depot for $2.1 billion
Staples Inc. logo
Staples Inc. logo

Five years after the US government blocked a prior attempt, Staples is again looking to buy rival Office Depot in a $2.1 billion cash deal.

Staples went private in 2017, selling itself to Sycamore Partners, a firm focused on keeping distressed retailers afloat. To avoid antitrust scrutiny, Staples proposed selling its IT management company CompuCom or its business-to-business unit.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Elon Musk states he wanted to sell Tesla to Apple, but Tim Cook refused
Elon Musk states he wanted to sell Tesla to Apple, but Tim Cook refused
Credit: @elonmusk via Twitter

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote in a tweet that "during the darkest days of the Model 3, I approached Tim Cook to discuss with him possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla - for one-tenth of our current value. He refused to attend the meeting".

Technology • Internet & Web
Reddit is buying TikTok rival Dubsmash
Reddit Logo
Reddit Logo Credit: Reddit

Reddit said in a statement on Sunday that it has acquired TikTok rival Dubsmash. It did not disclose the financial terms of the deal. Dubsmash allows users to create and share video content, and it's especially popular with young, diverse audiences.

Dubsmash's three co-founders, Suchit Dash, Jonas Drüppel, and Tim Specht, will be joining Reddit with immediate effect.

Technology • Games
Electronic Arts is set to acquire the British video-game-maker Codemasters, paying an estimated $1.2bn
F1 Game
F1 Game Credit: Codemasters

Video game giant Electronic Arts announced it would buy Britain's Codemasters, known for its F1 and Dirt racing game franchises., in a deal worth $1.2 billion. EA's move has come as a surprise - most people thought Take-Two's proposal last month (had offered a package worth $973m) was pretty much a done deal, and Codemasters itself had supported the earlier buy-out plan.

There is still a chance that Take-Two could respond with a better offer, and spark a bidding war between the two US gaming giants. This particular race is not won quite yet.

"We believe there is a deeply compelling opportunity in bringing together Codemasters and Electronic Arts to create amazing and innovative new racing games for fans," said EA's CEO Andrew Wilson.

Business • Innovation & Sustainability
Hyundai Motor acquires Boston Dynamics from SoftBank for almost $1 bn
Hyundai Motor acquires Boston Dynamics from SoftBank for almost $1 bn
Credit: Web Summit / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Hyundai Motor Co. is acquiring the US robotics firm Boston Dynamics Inc. from SoftBank Group for slightly less than 1 trillion won ($921 million) and will finalize the acquisition at its Dec. 10 board meeting, according to sources with knowledge of the matter on Dec. 8.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
Bob Dylan sells his entire catalogue of songs to Universal Music
Bob Dylan sells his entire catalogue of songs to Universal Music
Credit: unsplash/Brett Jordan

Bob Dylan has sold his entire catalogue of music, which encompasses over 600 songs, to Universal Music Publishing Group in the biggest music publishing deal in decades. Financial terms have not been disclosed, but the New York Times estimates that it was worth more than $300 million.

Technology • Internet & Web
Slack bought by Salesforce for $28 billion
Slack bought by Salesforce for $28 billion
Credit: unsplash.com / Scott Webb

Salesforce has announced on Tuesday afternoon said it will pay $27.7 billion in cash and stock to buy workplace collaboration platform Slack.

All shareholders of Slack will receive a 55% premium to Slack's trading price at $45.86 per share.

Business • Markets
Aldi acquires almost 550 stores in France
Aldi acquires almost 550 stores in France
Credit: Psicopatria / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Aldi takes over 547 branches and three central warehouses of its competitor Groupe Casino in France. This is the largest acquisition in the history of the Aldi Nord group, the German group announced. The food discounter estimated the deal at 717 million euros.

Already in March one had delivered a binding offer, now the competition authorities had finally agreed, Aldi communicated. The integration of the markets should be completed by the end of 2021. Most of the stores have been operated under the Leader Price brand to date. According to its own statements, Aldi Nord intends to use the acquisition to expand its market position in France and consolidate its store network there.

Business • Media & Advertising
German media group Bertelsmann to acquire Simon & Schuster for more than $2 billion
German media group Bertelsmann to acquire Simon & Schuster for more than $2 billion
Credit: Bertelsmann Unternehmenskommunikation (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 DE)

German media group Bertelsmann will acquire U.S. publisher Simon & Schuster from ViacomCBS for more than $2 billion. Bertelsmann, the owner of Penguin Random House, outbid Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for the publisher of authors Dan Brown, Hillary Clinton and Stephen King that Viacom put up for sale earlier this year.

CEO Thomas Rabe is restructuring the group to reduce its exposure to declining areas such as printing, has merged its Arvato CRM customer services unit and made a string of smaller technology bets.

Business • Media & Advertising
Buzzfeed to acquire HuffPost
Buzzfeed to acquire HuffPost
Credit: Homepage of HuffPost (Public Domain)

BuzzFeed has agreed to acquire HuffPost, as part of a larger deal with Huffpost's owner Verizon Media Group.

"This is a real vote of confidence after years of many shocks in our industry and few success stories," so Mark Schoofs, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News, in an email to staff.

Business • Economy
Spain: CaixaBank and Bankia merger blessed by shareholders
Spain: CaixaBank and Bankia merger blessed by shareholders
Credit: CaixaBank

Spanish banks CaixaBank and Bankia teams agreed to a merger that would create an entity with total assets of about 665 billion. Reuters reports that sources close to the deal confirmed the main shareholders greenlight the merger, to be signed in the next few days.

The new bank would surpass Santander and BBVA in the Spanish market with a combined market share of around 30%. Both Santander and BBVA would remain bigger globally, but not in Spain.

Technology • Internet & Web
ByteDance to partner with Oracle on TikTok's U.S. operations
ByteDance to partner with Oracle on TikTok's U.S. operations
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via TikTok, Oracle (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

ByteDance has decided to partner with Oracle on TikTok's U.S. operations instead of selling the U.S. arm. According to Reuters, the partnership is supposed to help navigate "geopolitical tensions between Beijing and Washington, people familiar with the matter said."

Technology • Internet & Web
Dialpad acquired video conferencing service Highfive
Dialpad acquired video conferencing service Highfive
Credit: Dialpad

Dialpad, the company behind the video conferencing service UberConference, announced Tuesday the acquisition of video conferencing startup Highfive. The companies did not disclose the purchase price.

UberConference does have built-in video conferencing features, but the service so far is mostly known for its voice features.

Technology • Internet & Web
Walmart is partnering with Microsoft on TikTok deal
Walmart is partnering with Microsoft on TikTok deal

Walmart is partnering with Microsoft to potentially buy TikTok's U.S. business from BtyeDance. The news was first reported by CNBC, which was later confirmed by Walmart.

In a statement, Walmart said that TikTok's integration of e-commerce and advertising "is a clear benefit to creators and users in those markets" and that the retailer believes "a potential relationship with TikTok US in partnership with Microsoft could add this key functionality and provide Walmart with an important way for us to reach and serve omnichannel customers as well as grow our third-party marketplace and advertising businesses."

Technology • Internet & Web
Scribd acquires presentation-sharing platform SlideShare
Scribd acquires presentation-sharing platform SlideShare
Credit: Scribd

Scribd announced Tuesday the acquisition of presentation-sharing platform SlideShare from LinkedIn for an undisclosed price. According to LinkedIn, Scribd will take over operation of the SlideShare business on September 24.

Trip Adler, co-founder and CEO of Scribd said, "Our acquisition of SlideShare is a major step towards creating the world’s largest digital library."