stories filed under: "spinoffs"
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 26th 2008 4:04pm
A few months ago there were rumors that Motorola might sell off its struggling handset division to another provider, however there didn't seem to be many interested buyers. It appears that Motorola has chosen option two instead: spin off the business to survive (or fail) on its own. The business accounts for the largest chunk of Motorola's earnings, but it is also a huge drag on earnings. Basically, the other parts of Motorola had been subsidizing the handset business. It's still rather amazing how slow Motorola is to come out with interesting handsets that people want. It had a huge success with the Startac in the 90s and then took nearly a decade before finding another hit with the RAZR. But just as with the Startac, it milked the RAZR concept for all it was worth and now is left in the dust while other firms are putting out much more innovative phones. Spinning off the business may separate it from the other parts of Motorola's business, but unless it starts designing phones people actually want, it's not going to make much of a difference.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 5th 2007 6:01pm
from the keep-making-deals dept
For years, we've joked about how Wall Street's dealmakers don't care if they're merging companies or breaking them apart: they have a script for both. When there are merger opportunities, it's all about the "synergies" of companies working together. When it's time to break them apart, you talk about "releasing shareholder value" that is hidden within the larger company. All it really means is another opportunity for another deal -- with the Wall Street folks taking their cut whichever direction things are going in. The latest to go through this pendulum is Barry Diller's IAC -- which has always been an odd conglomeration of internet companies. For years, we've wondered where all the synergies were that Diller promised the world when he started putting them all together -- and the latest answer apparently is that even Diller doesn't know. He's going to break the company up into five separate pieces in order to, yes, you guessed it: "increase shareholder value." While some are saying that this is classic Barry Diller -- a sign that he's more of a dealmaker than an executive, the timing of this might not be so crazy. After all, Diller did most of his buying during the dot com downturn, when many of the properties were undervalued. These days, with all the talk of the new bubble, and new enthusiasm on Wall St. for internet plays, the opposite is true. So while we tend to snicker at the "merge 'em up, break 'em down" thought process that goes into these efforts, in this case, it might actually make sense.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 5th 2007 4:09pm
from the next! dept
In the past, we've joked about Wall Street's amazing ability to convince companies that they need to acquire each other and merge to bring out "synergies" and then convince those same firms to later break themselves up into separate companies to "release shareholder value." It's all part of the shell game, where the investment bankers on Wall Street get to take out their huge fees whether a company is being built up or broken apart. It looks like the latest such target may be Yahoo, as an analyst at Sanford Bernstein has kicked off the discussion by noting that the company could release shareholder value by breaking itself up into three companies. Which companies? Well, it would want to split up the search and the advertising parts of the business... you know, the same parts of the business that folks convinced Yahoo it needed to buy four years ago if it was going to successfully take on Google. Now, of course, the only way for it to successfully take on Google is to get rid of those businesses. Luckily, the folks on Wall Street will happily help with both ends of the transaction for a
small significant fee. Sometimes I think I'm in the wrong business.