PointCast . . . Yahoo! . . . Groupon??

Insiders say a tentative deal was struck in which News Corp. would acquire PointCast for $450 million. But before the papers could be drafted, issues surfaced over PointCast’s revenue projections and the price tag, insiders say. The offer simply went away.

–“PointCast, The Rise and Fall of an Internet Star” ; Bloomberg BusinessWeek (April 26, 1999)

So, apparently Groupon’s founders have passed — for the time being — on Google’s $6 billion buyout offer (“Groupon’s Sales Price: No Bargain?”).
Owning shares in neither Google nor Groupon, I “don’t have a dog in this fight,” as they say.

Nevertheless, it’s hard not to draw historical parallels with earlier technology trailblazers like PointCast and Yahoo!

In both cases, each company attracted — and rejected — rich takeover offers from much, much larger but behind-the-curve players (News Corp., Microsoft) who viewed an acquisition as a way to leapfrog competitors.

When PointCast and Yahoo! overplayed their hands, the deals went away — and so did their (momentary) industry-leading positions.

Driving home the point: an email in my inbox just this morning, whose subject line trumpeted: “Hurry! This deal expires soon – 80% off Cleaning, Exam, and X-rays!”


Try, Angie’s List (Can you say, “low barriers to entry??”).

P.S.: On a personal note . . . want to know why Yahoo! named its (now-defunct) monthly magazine “Yahoo! Internet Life?”

Yahoo! approached yours truly in 1997 about buying Off-Line, my copyrighted newsletter covering online Investor Relations at the time.

I declined.

As they say, “Oops!”

(I never did find out how much it was worth to them. I suppose it’s possible the answer was, “not very much”).

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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