Digiday DealBook: Musk’s uphill battle to acquire Twitter, Shutterstock’s continued growth, new consumer insight deals and more

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Welcome to Digiday’s DealBook. Our focus is to create a quick and easy rundown of the deals acquisitions and hires taking place the previous week. The goal is to inform and update you on the latest happenings in the industry at the top of your inbox each Monday.  — Carly Weihe

—Twitter remained in the spotlight last week as shareholders sued Elon Musk and Twitter itself for driving stocks down due to sowing doubt in the potential acquisition deal in his Tweets following its public announcement last month. Shareholders filed a class-action suit against Musk last Wednesday, arguing that Musk violated California corporate laws, including those regarding market manipulation.

Since Musk’s initial bid on the company went public, Twitter stocks have fallen 12%, while Tesla’s stocks have fared even worse, dipping 40%. And Twitter agreed to pay $150 million after the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice found that Twitter violated an agreement in 2011 to not use personal security information such as users’ phone numbers for data insights. It was found that Twitter instead used this information to their advantage, using the security information as a tool to better target users with ads. 

—To bolster its editorial offering as it continues to expand in media, Shutterstock acquired Splash news. Splash is a source of content for live events and award shows and is described by Jamie Elden, chief revenue officer, as “premium celebrity and entertainment content.” This follows Shutterstock acquiring Pond5, the world’s largest video content marketplace, for $210 million in May. With these recent acquisitions, Shutterstock aims to continue building its Editorial Newsroom offerings with exclusive content. In addition, Splash’s archive of over 27 million images will join Shutterstock’s existing 60 million. 

—Two key players in consumer insight completed deals this week. First, MoEngage, a customer engagement platform led by AI insights, has raised $77 million in Series E funding backed in part by Goldman Sachs. MoEngage is a listening tool that can track consumer engagement across platforms. This is the third round of multimillion-dollar financing the company has received in the last 12 months. Another player in the ever-growing listening tool game, AnswerThePublic, was acquired by NP Digital, a performance marketing company. AnswerThePublic is a search engine listening tool that uses autocomplete to track searches for keywords and listens to 3 billion searches daily, including Alphabet’s Google.

In other news…

  • Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO and founder Mark Zuckerberg’s right hand, announced her departure from Facebook this past Wednesday. The new COO will be announced on June 9. This is the same day that Facebook’s parent company Meta will officially change its familiar stock symbol from FB to META. This marks the continued strive by Zuckerberg to emphasize the new parent company rebranding and metaverse focus. 
  •  Zinc, a venture capital fund focused on investing in mission-driven companies, received $34 million to continue investing in mission-based entrepreneurs to tackle pressing social issues. The new fund will invest in 500 new ventures and 100 pre-existing ones such as Vira Health and Tonus, with most funding coming from British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds program. 
  • Broadcom, a semiconductor software company, acquired VMware for $61 million, the company’s second-largest acquisition of 2022 thus far. VMware software has been crucial in the advancement of cloud computing, used by companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. 
  • Vibenomics, an audio provider, has raised $12.5 million in Series B funding to widen its catalog of networks in retail stores. The funding comes from Panoramic Ventures, a large tech venture firm.
  • Rom-com podcast company Meet Cute closed a partnership with Range Media Partners. Range Media is backed by A+E Networks, which will allow the network rights to adapt Meet Cute’s podcasts into series on the channel. 
  • Forbes scratched a deal to go public with a SPAC deal in place. Last August, the deal was initially announced as a $630 million deal to merge with Magnum Opus Acquisition. 
  • Uncertainty rises as Britain’s Competition and Market Authority investigates the proposed merger between BT Sports and Warner Bros Discovery. The CMA halted the merger to determine whether or not it would unfairly limit media market competition.  
  • Nfinite, a visualization and commerce merchandising company, has raised $100 million in Series B funding in part by the software investor Insight Partners. The company aims to continue to shape e-merchandising and how consumers experience online shopping by allowing customers to virtually try on clothing using AI.

Additionally, below is a list of industry leader hires and promotions

  • Fremantle, a British distribution and production company, has hired Gabriella Carriere as group head of strategy 
    • She previously worked at Sky Italia under Ski Wifi as marketing and commercial senior director

  • The Washington Post has promoted Emily Chow Mitnick as head of production operations
    • She was formerly the director of product and core user experience at the Post

  • Mediabrand Content Studio has hired Nathan Coyle as global president of content partnerships and influencer marketing
    • He was formerly CEO of Pride Media Inc.

  • Snap has hired Colleen DeCourcy as chief creative officer
    • She was formerly chief creative officer at Wieden+Kennedy, one of the world’s largest independent ad agencies

  • Mike Tyson’s cannabis brand, Tyson 2.0, has hired Jackie Guarini as CMO
    • She was formerly head of commerce media at Anheuser-Busch, U.S. portfolio

  • Leaf Group has hired Kate Lowenstein as senior vp and general manager of Well+Good and Livestrong
    • She was formerly the Global editor-in-chief of VICE

  • Chicago Sun-Times has hired Jennifer Kho as executive editor
    • She was formerly the president of the Journalism and Women Symposium
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