After last year's acquisition post, I thought it would be interesting to look at 5 great acquisition targets for 1st quarter 2008. I do not have financials for any of these companies, so I am working from a base of technology and visibility. For each company I list, I have also listed a possible buyer along with my commentary on why the purchase makes sense. Do you agree or disagree?
Why: Yahoo needs to expand its base of distribution for the Yahoo ad platform. What better way than to acquire the population segment who uses AOL and loves it? AOL users click ads which means a potential cash win for Yahoo sa they could integrate contextually-relevant advertising into AOL, something AOL doesn't do currently. It would also give them access into Hulu thru the AOL Video portal. It might even perk up the employee morale which I read has been quite low this past year.
Why: A couple times each week I read about IBM wanting to own the services market. Acquiring Zoho would give IBM a foothold into Web 2.0 and since Zoho targets the small business, would give IBM a chance to sell the small business on even more IBM-based services. It could even help IBM to slowly become a household name again in the Web space, something that they have no real presence in today.
Why: Webtrends is so completely out of the Web game, it's sad. I remember beta testing the first version of Webtrends in the mid-90s and watched the company never move forward. Clicky is hot, both from the application-side and the buzz-side, and could be a good fit for Webtrends. Most small businesses need simple Web analytics and while Clicky is more robust than just simple, it would give a slow entry into the current Web market for Webtrends. That is of course if they actually want to move forward, something I've wondered for eight years now.
Why: To help Omniture move further into the Web testing market and provide a rounded suite of tools for their clients. Last year I said that CrazyEgg should be acquired by a large creative agency but I've changed my mind and am going with Omniture. CrazyEgg and ClickTale provide the testing and Omniture provides the analytics - I could see some nice A/B type testing with these acquisitions.
Why: Both Pageflakes and Netvibes have good footings into the early adopter, "cool techie" segments. This is a segment which Yahoo lacks on but could be a very influential segment for buzz. Completed correctly, Yahoo could (once again) start to get their search and other products in front of the early adopter, blogger crowd which can be an excellent way for Yahoo to get messages out and have forced use of their technology.
Note: Zoho is a current sponsor of CN.