Deals done this past week

18 Jun 2012

Twitter slips into expansion mode - puts the media into social media

An overview of the week in deals in the Irish and global technology sector.

Twitter slips into expansion mode – puts the media into social media

Microblogging site Twitter has made its big media play –users can now expand tweets to link to photos, videos and content previews of news items. Twitter has forged media partnerships with The New York Times, Der Spiegel and The Wall Street Journal, to name a few.

In what has to be one of the boldest moves yet by the social media powerhouse, the alliance with traditional media will enable newspapers to give Twitter users a preview with the headline and introduction, as well as the Twitter accounts of the publisher and writer, as well as further interaction by following, replying, favouriting or retweeting.

The new functionality has rolled out online and at Twitter said it will be coming soon to Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android.

PCH International acquires Silicon Valley firm Lime Lab

Cork-headquartered PCH International, headed by Liam Casey, has acquired a Silicon Valley product development company called Lime Lab, which works with industrial design firms to create cutting-edge products.

Casey, known as ‘Mr China’ because of the manufacturing and supply chain empire he has built in Asia, plans to create 15 new jobs in San Francisco by the end of 2012, with plans to double this to 30 people in 2013.

Lime Lab Inc, a product development consultancy, places a heavy focus on prototyping, working with industrial design firms to develop products from concept ideation through to manufacturing support.

PCH plans to open a new R&D lab, which will include a full prototyping lab, rapid photo printers, EE lab, soft goods lab and project space/incubator rooms for strategic PCH Acclerator start-up opportunities.

“PCH’s product development services make us very unique, and we are delighted to expand this service to better serve our clients in the US market,” Casey said.

ekit Inc acquires Irishmen’s New York company Fonepool

Fonepool, a company started in New York in 2003 by Irishmen Colman Lydon and John Dennehy, has been acquired by ekit Inc, a subsidiary of JT Global, for an undisclosed sum.

Fonepool, which first wrote about in 2003 when it began providing mobile services to Irish students working in the US on J1 visas, has evolved into providing a streamlined method of purchasing mobile phone services for the medium or long-term in overseas customers.

Ekit is a Delaware-based subsidiary of JT Global, a global telecoms provider headquartered in the Channel Islands. It provides mobile device, SIM card, calling card, VoIP, voicemail, text and mapping services to more than 300,000 customers in North America, Europe and Australia. It is partnered with 400 travel providers .

It is understood that Lydon will be joining ekit in a consulting role, developing new business opportunities.

“Along with the support of their incumbent telecommunications parent in the UK, they (ekit) are ideally poised to solve the increasing need to stay connected while travelling, combined with the ever-present need to manage costs,” Lydon said.

Tesco buys digital music platform WE7

As part of its strategy to make its way into the digital media market, Tesco has bought WE7, a free personalised internet radio service.

For the stg£10.8m, Tesco has bought a 97pc stake in UK-based WE7 and plans to purchase the remaining shares within the coming weeks. Overall, Tesco intends to increase investment in its online business to around stg£150m between 2012 and 2013.

Tesco has revealed little of what it plans to do with its latest acquisition other than to say it will launch additional music services on the platform in the coming months.

IBM completes acquisition of Tealeaf Technology

Technology giant IBM has finished its acquisition of software maker Tealeaf Technology, Inc, for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition allows IBM to extend its Smarter Commerce initiative with qualitative analytics software designed to help organisations deliver an optimal digital experience to their customers via the web and mobile devices.

Tealeaf Technology is a provider of digital customer experience management and customer behaviour analysis solutions. Its software analyses interactions on websites and mobile devices.

Through these insights, chief marketing officers (CMOs), e-commerce and customer service professionals can spot patterns and address issues in website and mobile application design, such as a mobile coupon not being recognised at check out in a retailer’s online store.

Under the deal, Tealeaf will be integrated into IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative, specifically, the Enterprise Marketing and Management business.

Tealeaf employees will join IBM’s Software Group.

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