Silicon Valley’s ‘Acqhire’ Boom

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Twitter buys Posterous for its engineers
The ubiquitous social network has bought blogging platform Posterous for an undisclosed term. All signs point to this being a personnel acquisition and that Twitter isn’t necessarily matriculating from microblog to blog. This is yet another example of how many startups are bought not so much for their products but for their people in engineering-deprived Silicon Valley. It also calls into question whether Silicon Valley’s recent startup boom is more of a jobs fair. CNN’s Laurie Segall explains :

Is Twitter looking to venture beyond its famous 140-character limit, into the broader microblogging world? The early signs are no. Twitter is keeping Posterous up and running, at least for the time being, but its staff is being redeployed on other projects.

Click here for Twitter’s announcement.

Vox Media raises $17M to fund big-budget news sites
Vox Media, parent company to sports site SB Nation and tech site The Verge, has filed with regulators that it’s raising money, according to a The Next Web scoop. The company is making moves towards becoming a larger media player, with total funding around $40 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. From The Next Web:

The company is expanding fast and ferociously, but hiring tons of talented writers – and editors – to cover multiple industries is obviously a costly game. Presumably, the company needs a sizeable war chest not just for recruitment purposes but also to finance potential acquisitions and to launch new verticals down the line.

Click here to read The Next Web’s story.

After 244 Years, Encyclopaedia Britannica stops the presses
In a not-so-surprising sign of the times, Encyclopedia Britannica, the mainstay reference for generations, said they are moving operations to the digital realm. The encyclopedia faces stiff competition in the digital world: namely, Wikipedia. But also, in general, information is much cheaper now than when Encyclopedia Britannica salesmen went door-to-door convincing many to shell out hard cash for the hard cover books.

The New York Times reports:

In an acknowledgment of the realities of the digital age — and of competition from the Web site Wikipedia — Encyclopaedia Britannica will focus primarily on its online encyclopedias and educational curriculum for schools. The last print version is the 32-volume 2010 edition, which weighs 129 pounds and includes new entries on global warming and the Human Genome Project.

Click here to read The New York Times article.

Former Facebooker Buys The New Republic
Chris Hughes, the 28-year-old co-founder of Facebook bought the almost 100-year-old publication. In a letter to its readers, Hughes lays out his vision:

In the next era of The New Republic, we will aggressively adapt to the newest information technologies without sacrificing our commitment to serious journalism. We will look to tell the most important stories in politics and the arts and provide the type of rigorous analysis that The New Republic has been known for. We will ask pressing questions of our leaders, share groundbreaking new ideas, and shed new light on the state of politics and culture.

As we see more early Facebookers cash in, some wonder if this is how the news industry will be saved: young, wealthy, tech-focused, Internet-reared, ‘vanity moguls.” Retuers opinion columnist Jack Shafer writes:

Like the vanity moguls before him, Hughes has told the Times that profit “per se is not my motive.” He told the paper he aims for great journalism, previewing his plans to expand the magazine’s staff and predicting a transition from print to electronic in the long term (5 to 10 years). One can assume that he will also slather his new media hocus-pocus on the magazine to boost its fortunes and that it can’t help but rebound, regaining some of its old journalistic primacy. But vanity moguls who say their primary focus isn’t profits still tend to lose interest in their publications in direct proportion to the amount of money they lose.

Click here to read Shafer’s piece.

Yahoo Sues Facebook Over Patent Infringement
It looks like Yahoo is the corporate version of the Winklevoss twins. Remember them? They’re the ones who claim they, and not Mark Zuckerberg, founded Facebook. According to Paid Content, Yahoo just thinks it was the company who “created the building blocks for social networking (such as messaging, news and photo features)…” But Paid Content sees this massive lawsuit is a strategic play for Yahoo.

In Yahoo’s case, the timing of the law suit may reflect a strategic bid to maximize publicity while Facebook is in a quiet period ahead of its reported $100 billion IPO. Yahoo may also be trying to show exasperated investors that it has figured out new sources of revenue. In the bigger picture, though, the aggressive IP strategy may reflect weakness on Yahoo’s part. In recent years, companies have turned to their patent portfolios as a white knight of sorts to rescue them when they are getting beat up in the market place.

Click here to read the PaidContent article.

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