Vente Privée Goes After The $50 Billion Remnant Inventory Market
Vente Privée, the French juggernaut of online flash sales, is launching in the US in a joint venture with AMEX. We caught up with Vente Privée CEO Mike Steib to learn about the company; the key takeaway is that Vente Privée has very ambitious plans for hte US market, aiming not only to beat US competitors like Gilt but take marketshare away from retailers like TJ Maxx
Moving Online Will Help Video Games Capture More Ad Revenue
Market researcher DFC Intelligence predicts the global market for ads in video games to grow from $3.1 billion in 2010 to $7.2 billion in 2016 as video games finally begin to reach their potential as an advertising medium driven by increased online play. The amount of ad revenue flowing into video games currently pales in comparison to other media, considering that video games account for a huge share of leisure time. But video game advertising is expected to increase as more games go online and the engagement become less about a single user interacting with a game and/or ad and rather increasingly large audiences interacting with games, ads and each other.
An internal Google memo showed the company is prioritizing its browser Chrome in development. The question is: is this anticompetitive, or kosher? In reality, probably kosher: Chrome is the fastest and most standards-compliant browser, so it makes sense from a user-experience perspective to prioritise it. In terms of perception, it’s more grist for the mill of those, including in government, who want to punish Google.
Speaking of Google, something potentially less kosher: Google might have used “creative accounting” to get past antitrust review of its Zagat acquisition. The reported price was $125 million, and Google may have paid most of it as an earnout to get by the formal antitrust review process. Again, this might potentially be justifiable (earnouts are part of many M&A transactions) but this makes Google an easy target of antitrust cops and antagonists of the search giant.
Based on extremely strong Mac sales as reported by research firm NPD, veteran Apple analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray released a short note predicting Apple will sell a total of 4.5 million Macs this quarter. That figure, if indeed reached, would top the company’s previous all-time, one-quarter record of 4.1 million Macs sold during the 2010 holiday quarter — historically the strongest time of year. According to the NPD report: Apple’s Mac sales are up 22% for the first two months of the September quarter. The street is expecting a 16% growth rate for the entire September quarter. Munster attributes the strong sales to OSX Lion and refreshed MacBook Airs and Mac Minis. NPD also says iPod sales are down 16% for the first two months of the quarter, which is not as bad as a the street expected.
Cautioning investors investors not to read too much into the data, Steifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan reviewed ComScore search data for the month of August noting that U.S. explicit core search was up 9% y/y for the month of August a deceleration from +10% y/y in July. Google search was up 8.1%, Yahoo! up 2% and Microsoft up 44%. Based on the first two months of the quarter, Rohan notes that U.S. explicit core search is pacing up 2.7% q/q for 3QTD (vs. +2.8% as of July), with Google up 1.9%, Yahoo! up 4.7% and Microsoft up 5.2%. In terms of share of market: Google’s share was 64.8%, down 30bp month over month, Yahoo! at 16.3% is up 20bp m/m, Microsoft share at 14.7% was up 30bp m/m.
Ia separate note, Rohan significantly reduced estimates on Yahoo! saying the pace of deterioration of Yahoo!’s business fundamentals could increase, Topping the list of the the five significant issues that he (and we) believe private equity must consider before investing in the iconic Internet brand: getting Yahoo and its suitors to agree on the value of Yahoo!’s stake in the Alibaba Group. Rohan estimates that the bid x ask spread for AlibabaGroup’s valuation is $23bn x $35bn.Excellent point from SplatF’s Dan Frommer: we haven’t seen much great iPad only software yet. If the iPad is the future of computing some great tablet-only or tablet-first software stories remain to be written. Great first stabs at this include social news reader Flipboard and Square’s point of sale iPad app.
Morgan Stanley says Apple should use its massive cash pile for dividends or stock buybacks. Nice thought. Ain’t gonna happen.
Chinese PC makers report incredibly mixed earnings: Acer’s revenues are down a brutal 40% y/y, most likely due to the demise of the netbook at the hands of the iPad; Asustek’s revenues are up on sales in China and Southeast Asia. A picture of the post-PC era and the new economy: technological disruption in the US, consumer growth in Asia.
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