The tech business week: BuzzFeed to expand, Cisco to slash 6,000 jobs


18 Aug 2014

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A digest of the top business technology news stories from the past week, beginning with the news BuzzFeed will fund its major expansion with US$50m in Series E financing from Andreessen Horowitz.

BuzzFeed to spend US$50m investment on major expansion

Viral content company BuzzFeed will use US$50m in Series E financing from Andreessen Horowitz to build its brand, boost traffic and revenue on the web and mobile, and expand editorial, video and advertising offerings.

The investment values the company at about US$850m, The New York Times reported a person with knowledge of the deal as having said.

In addition to the financing, investor Kenneth Lerer will take up the reins as BuzzFeed’s executive chairman and adviser and will work with BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti on company strategy.

Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, will join the board of directors and bring expertise and guidance in the technology space.

Cisco to cut 6,000 jobs as full-year revenue up 3pc to US$47.1bn

Despite ending its fourth quarter with US$12.4bn in revenue and reaping full-year 2014 revenue of US$47.1bn, Cisco is to cut 6,000 jobs, or 8pc of its workforce, as its business contracts in developing countries.

The networking equipment maker’s fourth-quarter revenue is flat from the year ago period, and the full-year revenue reflects a 3pc increase year-over-year.

The layoffs to take place this coming year take the total job cuts to 18,000 in the last three years as Cisco aims to reposition its business in new markets in pursuit of growth, The Financial Times reported.

Cisco’s net income in the fourth quarter also decreased, to US$2.25bn, or US$0.43 a share, from US$2.27bn, or US$0.42, a year earlier.

Samsung’s acquisition of IoT start-up SmartThings is confirmed

First reported back in July, it has now been confirmed that Samsung has bought home automation firm SmartThings for a reported US$200m.

SmartThings CEO and founder Alex Hawkinson confirmed the acquisition and, though neither company has revealed the price paid, the figure of US$200m continues to be cited.

According to a report from Re/code, Hawkinson will remain at the helm of SmartThings, which will operate independently of the South Korean electronics giant.

Twitter reveals more than 23m accounts are bots

Microblogging site Twitter has revealed to the US government that more than 23m of its accounts are not run by humans.

According to Twitter’s recent filing with the US government, bots that either spam complete nonsense or are designed as automated responses to events, such as weather reports or news bulletins, make up 8.5pc of the site’s active daily users.

According to Quartz, the decision to comment on the number of bots was in direct response to an earlier statement that 14pc of the website’s active monthly users come from outside of the traditional website route and rather through Twitter APIs, including Tweetdeck and Twitter for Mac, which fall outside of Twitter’s official statistics.

Uber to challenge its app’s ban in Berlin

Uber has said it will challenge a ban imposed on its mobile ride-sharing app in Berlin by the city’s State Department of Civil and Regulatory Affairs due to concerns for passenger safety.

Uber faces a €25,000 fine if it ignores the order.

BBC reported Fabien Nestmann, general manager at Uber in Germany, as having said the decision from the Berlin authorities is not progressive and it’s seeking to limit consumer choice for all the wrong reasons.

BuzzFeed webpage image via Shutterstock

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