STOUGHTON, MA -- Next Generation Vending and Food Service Inc., a leading regional vending company serving the Northeast, has been acquired by private-equity investment firm H.I.G. Capital LLC. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The company, which maintains headquarters here and several branches throughout the Northeast, will continue to be led by chief executive David Mac Isaac and chief operating officer Joe Rogan. Next Generation management will retain a "sizeable" equity stake in the company, officials said.
Mac Isaac said H.I.G.'s recapitalization comes at a pivotal time as Next Generation moves to complete deployment of remote monitoring technology to its entire fleet of vending machines and vehicles. "With H.I.G.'s backing and expertise, we will be well positioned to aggressively seek and exploit growth opportunities to better service our existing customers' vending needs, as well as those of new customers," he stated.
Michael Phillips, a managing director at H.I.G. Capital, praised Next Generation's management team for its closing 11 acquisitions over the past three years and improving profitability simultaneously. "We look forward to assisting Next Generation to maintain its leadership position as the largest vending company in the Northeast and to continue to grow its footprint and implement remote-monitoring technology," he said.
Next Generation provides vending and office refreshment services to more than 8,500 customers throughout the Northeast, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania. In February, the company sold its foodservice division to Lessing's, a large foodservice and hospitality operation based in Great River, NY, to focus on its vending business.
H.I.G. Capital, founded in 1993, manages more than $8.5 billion. Based in Miami, with offices in San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, New York, London, Hamburg and Paris,
NCR expensive purchase of Radiant analysis by Bloomberg. NCR continues to do whatever it takes to remain relevant.
NCR Corp. (NCR) is so determined to boost margins that the world’s biggest supplier of ATMs is risking its investment grade rating on the most expensive acquisition by an integrated computer systems company in more than a decade.
NCR has agreed to buy Radiant Systems Inc. (RADS), the maker of self-service ticketing machines at movie theaters and checkout software for retailers, for $1.1 billion including net cash. At 20.6 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, last week’s deal would be the priciest takeover greater than $300 million by an integrated computer systems maker since 2000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
While NCR needs Radiant to increase operating margins that lag behind all 13 of its U.S. peers, Standard & Poor’s has placed the Duluth, Georgia-based company’s credit rating on review for a potential downgrade to junk. NCR is seeking $1.1 billion in debt to finance a transaction that will give the company a bigger presence in retail, restaurants and hotels and add a business that makes four times as much operating profit per dollar of sales, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“They definitely are clearly stating they want to increase margins, and they’re ready to risk their credit rating on the assumption that this deal will work out,” said Michael Yoshikami, chief investment strategist at YCMNet Advisors, which manages $1.1 billion in Walnut Creek, California. “They realize they’re in a rapidly changing environment, and they need to do something to stay relevant.”
Karen Leytze, a spokeswoman for Radiant, didn’t respond to e-mail or telephone messages requesting comment.
“Radiant’s business is growing faster with 15 percent compound revenue growth over the past six years and has a stronger margin profile,” Richard Maton, a spokesman for NCR, said in an e-mail response to questions. “Acquiring Radiant would significantly expand our available market by as much as $8 to $10 billion.”
The deal will add to earnings next year, he said.
NCR agreed to purchase Alpharetta, Georgia-based Radiant on July 11 for $28 a share in cash, a 37 percent premium to the company’s 20-day stock trading average, data compiled by Bloomberg show. At $1.1 billion it’s NCR’s biggest takeover, and almost four times bigger than its next largest deal -- the $280 million purchase of an additional 27 percent stake in NCR Japan Ltd. in 1998. The Radiant deal, expected to close in the third quarter, will help NCR expand in restaurants, retail and entertainment venues.
Hotels and Movies
Radiant, which offers touch-screen terminals, kiosks and handheld wireless devices for hotels, convenience stores, movie theaters and boutique retailers, also makes complementary software and provides subscription services to customers. Radiant’s technology, combined with its ability to bundle hardware, software and services, can be applied to all of NCR’s retail businesses, said Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. in Los Angeles.
At $1.1 billion, including the assumption of about $76 million in net cash, the deal values Radiant at 20.6 times Ebitda of $53 million in the last 12 months, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
That’s the most expensive multiple that an integrated computer services company has paid in a deal greater than $300 million since 2000. Sema Plc, the Anglo-French computer-services company, agreed to buy LHS Group Inc., an Atlanta-based maker of software for mobile phones, that year for $3.5 billion, or 49.5 times Ebitda, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“It’s an expensive deal,” YCMNet’s Yoshikami said of the Radiant purchase. “They’re very cognizant of the fact that margins and growth are issues. Adding a company like Radiant is going to help increase NCR’s growth rate. Given what NCR needs to do to improve their business, the price paid was reasonable.”
NCR makes self-service kiosks that allow customers to check in at airports and hotels or to rent movies in grocery stores. It’s also the largest supplier of ATMs globally based on installations, according to the company. NCR is recovering from the ATM business’s difficulty during the financial crisis, and the acquisition may help accelerate profit growth particularly in the retail division, Wedbush’s Luria said.
“The retail business that NCR currently has is much lower margin that Radiant’s,” said Zahid Siddique, a portfolio manager at Rye, New York-based Gabelli & Co., which owns NCR shares. “It’s a slow growth business, whereas the Radiant business is a higher margin, higher growth business with recurring revenues. That’s the key rationale.”
NCR paid Blockbuster Inc. for the use of its name on movie- rental kiosks, for which NCR collects all of the rental fees. It’s disputing Dish Network Corp. (DISH)’s claim that the contract to license those kiosks is invalid after Dish’s acquisition of bankrupt Blockbuster in April. NCR is exploring “strategic options” for the DVD kiosk business after receiving interest from outside parties, Chief Executive Officer William Nuti said on the July 11 conference call regarding the Radiant deal.
NCR said it will raise about $1.1 billion in new debt to finance the acquisition of Radiant, prompting S&P to place NCR’s BBB- rating, the lowest level of investment grade, on credit watch negative for a potential downgrade to junk. S&P estimates that NCR’s debt-to-Ebitda ratio will rise to 3.4 times, up from 2.2 times at the end of the first quarter, according to a July 11 statement. The company plans to reduce leverage to below 2.5 times by the end of 2012, according to the ratings company.
NCR already has about $1 billion of unfunded pension liability, S&P said.
“The timing caught a lot of people off guard because NCR is still in the tail end of dealing with an underfunded pension program,” Wedbush’s Luria said. “A lot of shareholders felt like they would’ve rather waited for the balance sheet to get cleaned up with the pension issue before NCR made a big deal.”
NCR said in a regulatory filing last week that it’s seeking a $700 million term loan and a $700 million revolving line of credit to fund the deal and general corporate purposes.
Increasing the company’s long-term debt by $1.4 billion would lower its ranking under Bloomberg’s Company Credit Ratings by four levels to B2H, one level below investment grade. Bloomberg’s ratings analyze borrowers based on their indebtedness, profitability and other financial ratios.
“We have discussed the transaction with our credit rating agency and we believe our pro forma capital structure is robust and does not merit a change in rating,” NCR’s Maton said. “A change in rating would not materially impact the company as we execute our strategic plan.”
NCR, which generated more than $130 million in free cash flow in the last 12 months, will likely be able to pay down the borrowings and preserve its debt rating, Wedbush’s Luria said. NCR had $480 million in cash and equivalents as of March and only $11 million in debt, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
“I don’t think from a debt perspective it’s a bad deal,” Gabelli’s Siddique said. “They’re generating cash, so it will come down pretty fast.”
NCR’s operating margin of 2.5 percent in the last 12 months trailed all 13 other U.S. makers of integrated computer systems with market values greater than $500 million, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The average was 13 percent for the industry, which includes makers of ATMs, computer systems for hotels and restaurants and systems to create three-dimensional models.
The addition of Radiant, which posted an operating margin of 10 percent in the same period, may boost NCR’s margin to 4.7 percent, said Wedbush’s Luria.
“The company is being very decisive in stating that they want to grow margins to the point that they’re willing to risk taking a downgrade to get those margins,” YCMNet’s Yoshikami said. “They have to be right.”
Data Vision and Mike Kellond join forces with Protouch. DVE is known for it's software and Protouch is known for hardware so it makes sense. Gorilla Media is the best known brand for DVE and Protouch marquee clients include Cineworld and IKEA. We always remember the Xen5 resembling the later Slabb (ss tubes along the sides).. Protouch markets itself as Europes #1 manufacturer & distributor of touch screen equipment.
Data Vision Europe (DVE), a leading supplier of hardware and software for public access digital media, and Protouch, the UK’s leading Touch Screen and Kiosk manufacturer have announced that they will merge. The combined business will operate from Protouch’s existing modern manufacturing facility in Camberley, Surrey and use the ProTouch brand. All of the key employees of DVE will relocate to the new location and enhance the rapidly expanding sales, marketing and technical teams at Protouch. The merger is expected to be completed during
The merger will combine DVE’s cutting edge software services and product design capability; including its acclaimed “Gorilla Media” software and the extensive experience in multi location roll outs of public facing IT solutions for global brands such as McDonalds, BT and Virgin with the high volume hardware manufacturing, design, sales and marketing capability of Protouch . The two companies have entirely complementary skills and the combined capability will undoubtedly provide the most comprehensive range of solutions for public access software,
interactive terminals, kiosks and digital media.
Mike Kellond, DVE founder and 15 year industry veteran, will assume responsibility for the software services activity at Protouch. Gorilla Media, developed by DVE, is a multi functional software package providing remote monitoring and management, secure and locked down browsing for public access, broadcast advertising management and scheduling, payment and ticketing options. Gorilla Media has been tested and approved by a number of major
corporations including BT and several major banks. Mike will drive the integration of Gorilla Media in to the Protouch product offering and be responsible for the strategic evolution of all software services at Protouch going forward. He expressed his delight with the merger with Protouch “I see this as a major opportunity for DVE and our customers. The relative strengths and weaknesses of the two companies are a perfect match and the combined company will
be capable of providing forward looking improved service to its customers “.
Protouch’s Managing Director Tom Quarry says, “DVE’s capability fits seamlessly with Protouch’s existing multi functional kiosk approach. It’s vital that both our hardware and software services meet with our clients’ needs to deploy a wide range of public access kiosk applications across all industries. We’re confident that with the addition of Mike Kellond and his team plus the tools available within Gorilla Media we will greatly improve our offering to give our clients cost effective, customised, touch screen solutions.“
Notes to the editor
Protouch Manufacturing Ltd was founded by Tom Quarry in 2000 is based in Camberley, Surrey.
It is the UK’s leading supplier of touch screen and kiosk systems. Included in its range is an award winning kiosk solution that has won EPoS Innovation awards across the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality industries.
It provides products for a great number of services including: payment, ordering, product look up and ticket printing; utilising many innovative devices like chip and pin, RFID, keyboard, bluetooth, web cameras, printers, scanners, wifi and much more.
Protouch’s experience in exclusively supplying touch screen and kiosk products gives it the in house understanding and expertise to achieve the results that its clients need. Protouch’s tried and tested product designs have been perfected over 10 years so that customers can now buy them off the shelf ready to be customised. Each is made to approved ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems standards and Protouch’s success is reflected in the clients it now has such as: Cineworld, Vogel’s, IKEA and Kiddicare.
Data Vision Europe Ltd was founded by Mike Kellond in 1995 and was previously based in Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire.
The company specialises in customised I.T solutions that encompass hardware, software, installation, maintenance and management.
Its wide range of solutions range from fully managed IT systems that reduce downtime and expenditure, to public access internet kiosks that drive sales and generate revenues.
It has worked with many large public facing companies such as McDonalds, Virgin and BT.
Aberdeen put out a blurb on NCR acquisition of Netkey. Nice title but not really any content except indirect promotion of reports. "Likely to expand footprint" and "timely move" and "customer portfolio" are as close to analysis they get.
NCR Acquires Netkey: Gains in Self-Service Retail Technology Market Share Likely
Written by Sahir Anand & Chris Cunnane
On November 2, 2009, NCR Corporation, a maker of self-service kiosks, point-of-sale (POS) terminals, bar code scanners, and ATMs, purchased Netkey Inc., a provider of kiosk and digital signage applications in retail, consumer goods, and other industry segments, for an undisclosed amount. This acquisition is likely to expand NCR’s footprint in the self-service world of retail and related segments. Aberdeen’s December 2008, POS Axis report had analyzed the POS vendor landscape and NCR had demonstrated top capabilities as a POS and self-service technology provider to retailers. NCR’s current client list includes customers such as Supervalu, Target, Toys “R” Us, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Harrolds, Edge Clothing, DCK Australia, Ski Wentworth, Fazer, Frank’s Super Low Food, Morse Fresh Market and Sunset Foods. Netkey adds a vibrant customer portfolio to NCR’s client list. Netkey’s installed base includes companies such as Target, Home Depot, Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, JC Penney, Borders, Kohl’s, Cabela’s, Kellogg’s, Welch’s, among several other large and mid-size companies.
NCR’s strategic acquisition is a timely move coming at a juncture when the business outlook for retail is just about beginning to look brighter after nearly 15 months of lull. Previously in the retail segment, Aberdeen’s analysis reveals that NCR historically relied on POS hardware-related organic customer as well as acquisition-based growth (i.e. acquisitions of Ceres Integrated Solutions, Kinetics, and services company 4Front Technologies). After spinning-off enterprise data warehouse provider Teradata in 2007, NCR has strived to focus on its core POS solutions business and diversify its customer base further, both in terms of revenue size and geography. NCR serves its diverse customer base by focusing on the POS software needs of end-users in the high customer-touch and high-traffic retail formats such as supermarket, grocery, convenience, hospitality, specialty and general merchandise. These segments require POS software that enables faster customer throughput, ease of payment, and facilitates loyalty elements such as receipt discounted product offers and rewards. The main advantage of NCR POS software is the ease of integration, flexibility, and scalability when combined with NCR POS hardware. Both of Netkey’s product value chain areas, self-service and digital signage are gaining momentum amongst retailers.
Data from Aberdeen’s latest Store Experience survey of 107 retailers indicates that on average at least 40% of companies consider self-service and digital signage as pivotal parts of their in-store execution and customer experience management roadmap for retail store technology deployments within the next 12-24 months. Self-service kiosks allow customers to control many elements of their shopping experience, from self-checkout to inventory look-up functions. The kiosks also allow for collection of customer data which can be used for creating personalized promotions and campaigns centered on lifestyle preferences and prior purchases. Digital signage is used for props, displays, signage, customer experience, product information, digital assets management, and other sales information processes in the field stores and outlets. Aberdeen’s latest Store Experience survey examined a more granular look at self-service kiosks, and found several specific areas of planned adoption:
As a further testimony, according to Aberdeen’s December 2008 State of the Retail Market report, 21% of Best-in-Class organizations are currently utilizing self-service kiosks, with an additional 34% indicating plans to implement in the next 12-18 months. More than half of those companies surveyed believe that kiosks enable better workflow, thus positively impacting a differentiated service environment for customers. NCR needs to ensure agile integration with Netkey self-service hardware, software maintenance, and support platforms would hold the key to future success in retail and related segments. As an end-user of retail solutions and if evaluating NCR or Netkey self-service solutions, consider the changes (if any) in terms of the overall offering, pricing, level of integration, and improved scalability as well as extensibility factors for your retail organization.
Lexitech aka Netkey is purchased by NCR. In a departure from niche application NCR opts to buy a general platform for self-service and at the same time buy into the digital signage segment. Netkey has a rich-client approach to application.
NCR Buys Netkey to Provide End-to-End Kiosk and Digital Signage Solution
NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) announced today that it has purchased the assets of Netkey, Inc., a market-leading provider of kiosk and digital signage software applications used by leading companies to deliver a growing range of multi-industry self-service applications such as gift registry, guided selling, endless aisle and human resources functions. Terms were not disclosed.
ABI Research predicts that companies will spend more than $1 billion globally on digital signage solutions next year, growing at an average of 20 percent per year for the next five years, while kiosk deployments will grow an average of 19 percent per year during the same period.
Netkey’s enterprise software platform uses a proven scalable architecture that enables fast and flexible development of applications for kiosk and digital signage-based solutions. NCR will combine Netkey’s software platform with its own technologies to provide a best-in-class enterprise solution, which includes software applications, one of the broadest hardware portfolios in the industry, and a suite of services. NCR will continue to provide multivendor hardware support with the Netkey solution.
Headquartered in East Haven, Conn., Netkey has over 75,000 kiosks and digital signs installed by more than 400 clients in the retail, finance, transportation, and government sectors. Many of these customers also use NCR’s kiosk, self-checkout or point-of-sale solutions.
“This acquisition makes perfect sense from a customer perspective,” said Jenny Hinsman, vice president of kiosk solutions for Pitney Bowes. “We use Netkey’s application on NCR’s hardware for our Mail & Go Shipping kiosk. We now have one point of contact and, more importantly, are dealing with one company that is now even better positioned to lead the advance and growth of the self-service industry.”
Netkey will provide NCR with a robust digital signage application that is built on the same platform as Netkey’s kiosk applications, making NCR’s solutions faster to deploy and easier to support.
“Consumers increasingly expect to interact with companies when and how they wish, and businesses are responding by offering their customers a seamless experience across the channel of their choice,” said Mike Webster, vice president and general manager for NCR’s retail line of business. “This acquisition will enable NCR to help its customers across multiple industries with kiosk and digital signage solutions that deliver more effective transactions, promotions and information as part of a merged channel strategy.
“In doing so, NCR will take a best-in-class solution, combine it with best-in-class hardware and services, and deliver compelling competitive advantage, ultimately on a global basis.
Our approach is an example of NCR executing its software-driven, hardware-enabled and services-led corporate strategy.”
About NCR Corporation
NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a global technology company leading how the world connects, interacts and transacts with business. NCR’s assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries. NCR (www.ncr.com) is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia.
NCR is a trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries.
BELLEVUE, Wash. - (Business Wire) Coinstar, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSTR) today announced its intent to purchase the remaining stake of Redbox Automated Retail, LLC (“Redbox”), an automated DVD rental service, from GetAMovie Inc. and other minority interest holders. Upon closing these transactions, Coinstar is expected to own 100 percent of Redbox. Coinstar’s long history and expertise in self-service and front of store retail solutions led to today’s announcement.
With 35 million unique customers and 12,000 locations, redbox is the leading renter of DVDs through self-service kiosks in the United States. Redbox rents the latest movie releases for $1 per night and allows consumers to rent in one location and return at another location. Redbox can be found nationwide in select McDonald’s® restaurants, leading grocery stores, and Walmart and Walgreens stores in select markets.
“Redbox has been a great addition to our 4th Wall® product portfolio, and we are very enthusiastic about the DVD rental kiosk market having seen tremendous growth and acceptance over the past few years,” said Paul Davis, chief operating officer at Coinstar, Inc. “Redbox has a strong business model and management team and we look forward to seeing continued growth as a combined company.”
Industry research indicates that the majority of consumers prefer physical media such as DVDs, and while emerging technologies such as digital downloads and video on demand are growing, consumer acceptance is still low. Other research shows DVD rental transactions in 2008 increased 1.8 percent to 2.6 billion over the prior year. Redbox represents about 9 percent of the overall DVD rental market, and is the leading provider in kiosk rentals.
“Redbox has a very positive and cooperative relationship with Coinstar and we’re pleased with today’s announcement,” said Gregg Kaplan, chief executive officer of Redbox. “The growth of the self-service DVD rental market continues to be brisk, and the combination of $1 per night pricing and the extreme convenience offered by redbox continues to be enthusiastically embraced by consumers.”
On February 12, 2009, Coinstar entered into an agreement with GetAMovie Inc. (“GAM”, an affiliate of McDonald’s Corporation). Coinstar has agreed to acquire GAM’s 44.4 percent voting interests in Redbox and GAM’s rights, title and interest in a $10 million promissory note made by Redbox, in exchange for a combination of cash and Coinstar common stock.
Coinstar will initially pay GAM $10 million in cash and 1.5 million shares of Coinstar common stock on the closing date, which is expected to be on February 26, 2009. In addition, Coinstar will pay deferred consideration to GAM that will be payable in cash and/or shares of Coinstar common stock at Coinstar’s election and subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions. The agreement with GAM also provides that in no event will the shares of Coinstar common stock issued to GAM as consideration exceed 5,653,398 shares. At least 50 percent of the deferred consideration is payable by July 31, 2009 and the remaining portion is payable by October 30, 2009. The total consideration to be paid to GAM is expected to be between approximately $134 million and $151 million. GAM will be entitled to registration rights under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, with respect to the shares of Coinstar common stock acquired in connection with the transaction.
In addition, Coinstar is expected to purchase the remaining outstanding interests of redbox from minority interest and non-voting interest holders in redbox. Consideration will be paid on similar terms to those of the GAM purchase agreement. The total consideration to be paid in these transactions is expected to be between $21.5 million and $24.9 million. The closing of these transactions are subject to various closing conditions.
Coinstar has amended its credit agreement to facilitate the transactions.
About Coinstar, Inc.
Coinstar, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSTR) is a multi-national company offering a range of 4th Wall® solutions for the retailers' front of store consisting of self-service coin counting, DVD rental, money transfer, electronic payment solutions, and entertainment services. The Company's products and services can be found at more than 90,000 points of presence including supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchants, financial institutions, convenience stores and restaurants. For more information, visit www.coinstar.com. For additional information on redbox operating results, visit the “About Us – Investor Relations, Earnings Call Information” section of Coinstar’s Web site at www.coinstar.com.
Certain statements in this press release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "anticipate," "goals," variations of such words, and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, but their absence does not mean that the statement is not forward-looking. The forward-looking statements in this release include statements regarding Coinstar, Inc.’s anticipated acquisition of the outstanding interests of Redbox and future growth and results. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results may vary materially from the results expressed or implied in such statements. Differences may result from actions taken by Coinstar, Inc., as well as from risks and uncertainties beyond Coinstar, Inc.'s control. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, not meeting closing conditions or otherwise not completing the acquisition of redbox interests, the termination, non-renewal or renegotiation on materially adverse terms of our contracts with our significant retailers, payment of increased service fees to retailers, the ability to attract new retailers, penetrate new markets and distribution channels, cross-sell our products and services and react to changing consumer demands, the ability to achieve the strategic and financial objectives for our entry into or expansion of new businesses, the ability to adequately protect our intellectual property, and the application of substantial federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations specific to our business. The foregoing list of risks and uncertainties is illustrative, but by no means exhaustive. For more information on factors that may affect future performance, please review "Risk Factors" described in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements reflect Coinstar, Inc.'s expectations as of the date of this release. Coinstar, Inc. undertakes no obligation to update the information provided herein.
Marci G. Maule, 425-943-8277
Brian Turner, Chief Financial Officer, 425-943-8000
AT&T to Acquire Wayport; Combined Wi-Fi Networks to Provide Connectivity in More Places. Millions of AT&T Customers to Get Free Wi-Fi Access at Nearly 20,000 U.S. Hotspots.
Austin, Texas, November 6, 2008
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) announced today that it has agreed, through one of its subsidiaries, to acquire privately-held Wayport, Inc., a leading provider of managed Wi-Fi services in the United States, for approximately $275 million in cash. The deal adds Wayport's focused capabilities and enterprise customer portfolio with AT&T's leading Internet Protocol (IP) and 3G networks, and broad consumer and business customer bases, to deliver enhanced broadband connectivity at home, in the office, on the road, and virtually anywhere in between.
The acquisition expands the AT&T Wi-FiSM footprint to nearly 20,000 domestic hotspots, takes the company's global Wi-Fi presence to more than 80,000 locations*, and creates thousands of new ways for customers worldwide to stay in touch. Millions of AT&T customers — plus millions of other consumers needing to connect on the go — will benefit from access to new hotspot locations served by Wayport. Wayport hotspots are in key locations, including select Wyndham, Marriott Vacation Club and Four Seasons hotels; HealthSouth and Sun Healthcare locations; plus McDonald's restaurants.
AT&T's global brand, marketing leadership and extensive enterprise sales force will complement Wayport's expertise in enabling and managing applications over an integrated network. Wayport will also extend AT&T's reach in the hospitality, health care, education and retail sectors.
"We're seeing exponential growth of Wi-Fi-enabled devices — such as smartphones — combined with a continued dependency on 24/7, anytime, anywhere Internet access across business and consumer market segments," said John Stankey, president and CEO, AT&T Operations. "Now is the right time for AT&T to affirm our commitment to Wi-Fi leadership. By acquiring Wayport, we're giving consumers more ways to stay in touch and building a more robust network management solution for businesses. We're bringing ready access to the nation's leading Wi-Fi, wireless and IP networks — on a global scale."
Delivering Greater Value to Consumers
More than ever before, customers worldwide are using AT&T's expansive network to serve today's growing demand for more connectivity in more places — which is driven by the proliferation of Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
This acquisition enhances AT&T's Wi-Fi presence in the United States, and it delivers a seamless, consistent communications experience to customers at home or on the go — from one company.
Nearly 300 million Wi-Fi-enabled devices were shipped in 2007. Nearly 1 billion are predicted by 2012.* *
With the surge of Wi-Fi-enabled devices, such as smartphones, portable computers, gaming devices and cameras, more consumers can enjoy the benefits of anytime, anywhere access from the nation's largest Wi-Fi network.
A broader and deeper AT&T Wi-Fi network means more free connectivity for millions of AT&T customers, including select AT&T smartphone customers, AT&T LaptopConnect customers and AT&T High Speed Internet (including U-verseSM) subscribers.
Providing Solutions for Enterprise Customers
The acquisition complements AT&T's ability to deliver a complete end-to-end solution for businesses worldwide with Wayport's experience in facilitating business applications and managing public access to the Internet over a single network. As Wayport currently provides back-office management for AT&T's Wi-Fi Hot Spots, the acquisition expands such capabilities and brings management of Wi-Fi infrastructure completely under AT&T management.
The combined company will be able to deliver a more cost-effective and streamlined solution for enterprises — and their customers — by providing more anytime, anywhere access to end-user applications. Plus, with both the back-office infrastructure and end-user content application managed by one company, businesses can reduce operating costs, enhance and customize their customers' experience and reach more customers in new innovative ways.
AT&T will provide a comprehensive solution for businesses seeking converged and managed network capabilities — on one network — with global reach, while also bringing ready access to the nation's largest Wi-Fi, wireless and leading global IP network.
Enterprise customers will be able to better utilize private-side applications — effectively managing costs and increasing productivity levels — including inventory management, remote employee learning, point-of-sale applications and remote security monitoring.
A unified solution will drive new business partnerships, leveraging AT&T's unique, innovative services and applications available to enterprise customers.
Enterprise customers will benefit from new, revenue-generating opportunities with AT&T's ability to bring customized, location-based messaging and advertising to more touch points — via a streamlined Wi-Fi solution — reaching more end-users.
"AT&T's premier capabilities in both the enterprise and consumer industries will take Wayport's strength in delivering Wi-Fi solutions over converged networks to an entirely new level," said Dave Vucina, chairman and chief executive officer of Wayport.
"AT&T's ability to reach and service tens of millions of customers will greatly expand the value we currently bring to our customers. As part of AT&T, we'll bring new and better solutions to our customers on a global scale, with greater reach and more innovative services."
The transaction is expected to close as early as the fourth quarter of 2008.
* Including roaming locations
* * In-Stat, 2008.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their offerings are the world's most advanced IP-based business communications services and the nation's leading wireless, high speed Internet access and voice services. In domestic markets, AT&T is known for the directory publishing and advertising sales leadership of its Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM organizations, and the AT&T brand is licensed to innovators in such fields as communications equipment. As part of its three-screen integration strategy, AT&T is expanding its TV entertainment offerings. In 2008, AT&T again ranked No. 1 on Fortune magazine's World's Most Admired Telecommunications Company list and No. 1 on America's Most Admired Telecommunications Company list. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com.
© 2008 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.
About Wayport, Inc.
Founded in 1996, Wayport enables breakthrough public and private applications over an integrated network platform which creates new business opportunities and operational efficiencies. Wayport serves notable brands in a variety of vertical markets, including AT&T customers through a managed service agreement. Wayport helps clients create new business capabilities and improve operational efficiencies at premier venues including major hotels, hospitals, McDonald's and Hertz locations, and other retail brands worldwide. Wayport's investors include Sevin Rosen Funds, INVESCO Private Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Scale Venture Partners, Trellis Partners, Advanced Equities, Inc., Lucent Venture Partners, GC Technology Fund, Sanders Morris Harris, Star Ventures and GIC.
HP buys services EDS and now goes head-to-head with IBM in services consulting side of business.
H-P Agrees to Buy EDS,
In Challenge to Rival IBM
By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG, JIM CARLTON, JUSTIN SCHECK and DONNA KARDOS
May 13, 2008 8:15 a.m.
Hewlett-Packard Co. on Tuesday unveiled its deal to acquire Electronic Data Systems Corp. for about $12.8 billion, as it said fiscal second-quarter results beat analysts' expectations and raised its fiscal-year outlook.
The all-cash deal, which is expected to close in the second half, would unite two of the most storied names in computing. The price of EDS, at $25 a share, represents premium of more than 30% from where EDS's stock was trading before The Wall Street Journal reported the talks Monday afternoon.
EDS shares closed Monday at $24.08, and rose 0.7% to $24.26 in premarket trading Tuesday. H-P shares fell 2.8% to $45.52 after dropping 5.1% Monday.
A deal would make H-P the world's second-largest provider of technology services after International Business Machines Corp. EDS's 137,000 employees run computer servers and mainframes, manage corporate help desks and process data for everything from credit cards to airline tickets.
The deal is expected to add fiscal 2009 non-GAAP earnings and to 2010 net income, with "significant synergies" expected.
As part of the deal, H-P would establish a new business group, to be branded "EDS -- an H-P company," and headquarter at EDS's existing offices in Plano, Texas. EDS will continue to be led after the deal closes by Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Ronald A. Rittenmeyer, who will join H-P's executive council.
The move is a complicated strategic gambit for H-P Chief Executive Mark Hurd. H-P already is a sprawling conglomerate that is the world's largest maker of personal computers, with a market capitalization of $115 billion. Now it would have to digest a large company with a starkly different culture than its own.
"The combination of H-P and EDS will create a leading force in global IT services," said Mr. Hurd. "Together, we will be a stronger business partner, delivering customers the broadest, most competitive portfolio of products and services in the industry. This reinforces our commitment to help customers manage and transform their technology to achieve better results."
With the broader technology industry maturing, companies have found it more difficult to grow than in the past years. An H-P acquisition of EDS could spark a run of tech-industry mergers, as the Palo Alto, Calif., company's major rivals react to the deal.
The combined company would be able to trim overhead costs, while allowing H-P to sell more servers and workstations to EDS's consulting clients. That is largely been the model for IBM, which is clearly the competitive target behind the potential acquisition. IBM controlled 7.2% of the tech-services market last year, according to research firm Gartner Inc. EDS was a distant second at 3%, while H-P was fifth, with a 2.3% share.
Separately, H-P said net income on a preliminary basis rose for the quarter ended April 30 to 80 cents a share from 65 cents, with earnings excluding acquisition costs rising to 87 cents a share from 70 cents a share. Revenue rose 11% to $28.3 billion.
The company, which was slated to release its quarterly results Thursday but pushed the release date to next Tuesday, had projected earnings between 83 cents and 84 cents on revenue of $27.7 billion to $27.9 billion.
For the fiscal year, H-P raised its earnings view by four cents to $3.54 to $3.58 a share, and now expects revenue of $114.2 billion to $114.4 billion, up from the prior estimate of $113.5 billion to $114 billion. Analysts were looking for $3.52 and $114 billion, respectively. For the third quarter, H-P expects earnings excluding items of 82 cents to 83 cents a share on revenue of $27.3 billion to $27.4 billion. Analysts forecasted earnings of 82 cents on revenue of $27.35 billion.
Red Herring - Amazon.com said it has agreed to acquire audio books seller Audible.com for approximately $300 million. It comes on the heels on a series of moves Amazon has made with the major music labels to free its music download business of copy protection restrictions (DRM).
mazon to Buy Audible for $300M
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on 31 January 2008, 10:48
by Cassimir Medford
Online retailer Amazon.com on Thursday said it has agreed to acquire audio books seller Audible.com for approximately $300 million in cash and short-term investment.
The move lends added distribution and format flexibility to Seattle-based Amazon which is best known as a book seller. It also comes on the heels on a series of moves Amazon has made with the major music labels to free its music download business of copy protection restrictions.
"Amazon understands that we are moving into a world where both content and distribution are digitized," said Michael Goodman, an analyst with Yankee Group. "Although Amazon is an online vendor it still primarily sells hard-copy books, CDs, and DVDs by mail, so it has to adapt."
Two months ago Amazon launched Kindle, an electronic book that allows users to download and read digital books and newspaper articles over cellular networks. And in September 2006, Amazon also launched Unbox, a movie download service.
"Amazon is attempting to cover its bases in terms of content distribution in music, books, and movies," said Dave Card, an analyst with JupiterResearch. "Amazon understands that it is in both the retail and delivery businesses."
Earlier this week Amazon said will begin selling its digital music without digital rights management (DRM) protection, a technology overlay that limits the number or nature of the devices on which downloaded songs can be copied.
Amazon has gotten the major music labels to drop their insistence on DRM protection.
Ironically Newark, New Jersey-based Audible sells audio books, audio magazines, and radio and TV programs with DRM protection. And like the major labels, the nine-year-old firm has come under fire for its use of DRM.
The acquisition of Audible is subject to regulatory approvals, and is expected to close by the second quarter of 2008.
Busy day in world of database and middleware as Sun Micro purchases MySQL for $800m and Oracle snaps up BEA in middleware for $8.5B (that's right, billion...). MySQL of course is the defacto db engine for 70% of web (which is mostly running PHP and variants). MySQL began as open source and went from "little database" to big database with stored procedures and rest and now takes its place as funded competitor for Microsoft on the web and Oracle everywhere else. I like their chances...
Netkey purchases digital signage firm Webpavement. No details on purchase price were given.
Self-Service Kiosk Software Leader Netkey Acquires Webpavement, Top Digital Signage Software Brand
Netkey Expands Presence in Rapidly Growing Digital Signage Industry with Market-Leading Solution; First to Offer Best-In-Class Products for Both Self-Service and Digital Signage
Netkey, a recognized leading provider of software for self-service kiosks, today announced that it has acquired Webpavement, one of the largest providers of software used for the operation and management of networks of digital signs.
Webpavement, based in Alpharetta, GA, was founded in 2000 and is a pioneer in the development of software products designed specifically for the operation of digital signage – video screens that display multimedia content and messages that are connected using private networks or the Internet. Webpavement customers include Pfizer, Clear Channel, Welch Foods, Robins Air Force Base, Jacksonville International Airport, the University of Houston, and the Georgia Department of Transportation.
This acquisition places Netkey in a leadership position as the only company able to offer businesses a comprehensive suite of best-in-class software products and services designed to increase sales, improve the customer experience, and inform workers through kiosks and digital signage, while at the same time reducing the time and resources required by IT to deploy, operate and manage these networks.
“There is tremendous opportunity in the convergence of interactive kiosk technology and digital signage, and Netkey is now uniquely positioned to offer to Fortune 1000 companies software and services that are optimized to address the specialized business and technology requirements of these fast-growing channels,” said V. Miller Newton, CEO of Netkey. “Webpavement is recognized as being one the top providers of digital signage software, and we welcome their employees, customers and partners to the Netkey family. As a result of this acquisition, Netkey is redefining the way self-service and digital signage solutions are delivered to the market by making it easy for businesses to select a single best-in-class vendor for both.”
“Webpavement was one of the first companies to develop and deploy software designed specifically to operate digital signage networks, and we are proud to have helped transform the way businesses communicate with customers and employees,” said Eric Unold, co-founder of Webpavement. “As a result, the company has achieved strong industry momentum and built a solid base of flagship enterprise accounts. Joining with an industry leader like Netkey creates a solution provider that is stronger and better positioned to service customers in both the kiosk and digital signage markets.”
Rapid Market Adoption of Digital Signage
Emerging trends such as the need for real-time information in public locations, enhancing the customer experience, synchronizing sales and marketing channels, and improving employee productivity are driving the explosive adoption of digital signage in retail stores and malls, bank branches, airports and train stations, corporate offices and government facilities. Published reports estimate that the digital signage marketplace will grow up to 50 percent per year to become an over $4 billion industry by 2011.
“Retailers plan to increase in-store technology spending by nearly 14% this year,” said Robert Garf, AMR Research Vice President and General Manager, Retail Strategies, in a new report. “Netkey is well-positioned to take advantage of this trend by marrying the two advanced selling technology platforms, which have the potential to let retailers offer timely and relevant communication, via myriad devices, throughout the entire shopping process.”
Netkey Webpavement: Market-Proven, Feature-Rich Digital Signage Software
The Webpavement solution – now called Netkey Webpavement – is a comprehensive suite of digital signage software modules that are feature-rich yet easy to use. Netkey Webpavement addresses the key business processes and workflows required to develop, deploy, operate, manage and report on networks of digital signs displaying advertisements and a wide variety of other content types. Product modules include:
– Sign Server: Server software for centrally managing networks of digital signage media players. Sign Server automates all content management and distribution for digital signage networks. Playlists and schedules are programmed using a web browser and stored in a central database for distribution to a network of media players.
– Sign Administrator: Administrative tool for controlling digital signage in real time. Local or centralized users can immediately update screens with text crawls, instant messaging, RSS news feeds and more.
– Sign Host: Media player software that displays playlists according to schedule. Alongside playlists, information can be displayed in a sidebar, while a ticker scrolls text messages, local weather forecasts, stock market summaries and headline news.
More information about Netkey Webpavement solutions for digital signage can be found at: http://www.webpavement.com/ Full-featured, free 30-day trial copies of Netkey Webpavement Sign Administrator and Sign Host are available for download at: http://www.webpavement.com/digital-signage-downloads.htm Please contact Netkey for pricing and purchase options.
Netkey provides a comprehensive suite of applications and management software for self-service kiosks and digital signage. Netkey solutions help businesses increase sales and reduce the cost of providing enhanced services to consumers and employees. Customers include Avery Dennison, Bank of America, Borders, Circuit City, JC Penney, Target, The Home Depot, and the U.S. Postal Service. Contact Netkey at 1-800-443-7924, via e-mail at email@example.com, or on the Web at www.netkey.com
Robert Ventresca, 203-907-0227
Vice President, Marketing
Earlier today it was reported HP purchased Neoware for $214M. That's a pretty strategic buy for HP in thin client market. It didn't take long either for Wyse to deliver a "so what does this mean" response to the marketplace (less than an hour actually). That's quick on your feet for sure.