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April 19, 2014

Wheelings & Dealings: M&A Week in Review

By Joe Rizzo, TMCnet Contributing Writer

The name Motorola (News - Alert) once signified a leader in the two-way radio and cell phone market. Lately, however, it seems that whenever you hear the name Motorola, it is usually associated with another piece of the company being sold off.

In about a year and a half, Google (News - Alert) bought and sold the Motorola Mobility unit. This week we see that Zebra Technologies, a manufacturer of thermal bar code label and receipt printers, RFID smart label printer/encoders, card and kiosk printers, has purchased Motorola’s mobile device for businesses unit.

I suppose that I should not be too surprised to find out that the cosmetics industry is a $160 billion market. One company that is part of this market is Julep. It is a cosmetics company that was founded by former Starbucks executive, Jane Park, who is also the Seattle-based company’s CEO. The cosmetics company is also considered to be a beauty brand, as well as an electronic commerce platform.

The company has just finished Series C financing and nearly doubled its worth by raising $30 million. There are a couple of things that sets Julep apart from companies such as Estee Lauder and Lancome. For one thing, because it has lower overhead so it can take a different approach to getting product to market. Julep also takes a lot of feedback through social media and crowdsourcing to deliver what customer actually want to see and use.

Speaking of social media and crowdsourcing to improve your products, it seems that Twitter (News - Alert) feels the same way. This week, it purchased Gnip, Inc. a social media API aggregation company. Gnip has been a Twitter partner for quite some time.

It was was Twitter's first data collection partner. The company's service collects public tweets from the social network's users, compiles them into digestible data sets and serves them to companies and organizations on a worldwide basis.

Twitter will use this information to make its data more accessible. The goal is to give Twitter a better understanding of their users’ needs. A lot of information is circulated through Twitter accounts, these public tweets can reveal a great deal of information and insights concerning what people want and what they want to see.

We are living in a work environment that is constantly on the go. The use of smartphones and tablets allow an employee to literally work from anywhere at any time. New and improved Mobile Device Management applications allow the company’s data and the employee’s devices to be secure.

However, through all of this mobility, gone are the days when you could simply walk into someone’s office or call them on the intercom to discuss work matters. That leads to the fact that companies now have to communications solutions that not only fit all their current needs, but will also grow and be flexible enough to change as the company’s needs do.

It is with this type of goal in mind that Communications Resources Inc. and SOURCE, Inc. are hoping to achieve by signing a strategic partnership deal. Communications are vital to a company’s smooth operation. Having the right solution is very important.

Drones seem to be very popular lately. Facebook (News - Alert) seems to like them, as I recall, I believe that Amazon was talking about using drones to deliver its packages, now Google has the drone bug. Well actually Google has had it for quite a while. It still wants to use blimps to provide Internet access to remote areas.

In its continuing efforts to do so, Google has acquired Titan Aerospace. The purchase will expand the potential reach of its network with Project Loon. This is a research and development project being developed by Google with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas.

The project uses high-altitude balloons, the blimps that I mentioned earlier, placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 20 miles to create an aerial wireless network with up to 3G-like speeds. This will help to bring connectivity to areas that most likely would never be able to have an Internet connection.

Every day a lot of companies make deals, raise funds and form partnerships. We try to keep an eye on these Wheelings & Dealings. Whether it is an acquisition or a joint partnership that benefits several companies, we will keep you apprised of all of the important details.

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