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Web Pioneers AOL and Yahoo Liquidated

Verizon sold Internet pioneers AOL and Yahoo to PE firm Apollo Global a history of mis-steps & bad timing lead the firms to be sold for pennies of their peak values

Record Breaking Proofpoint Buyout

The $12.3B Proofpoint buyout by Thomas Bravo is one of the biggest overall technology acquisitions ever raking with megadeals like Dell’s $67 billion EMC purchase, IBM’s $34 billion Red Hat deal, and Salesforce’s impending $27.7 billion Slack acquisition

Earth Day 2021

To commemorate Earth Day 2021 Here are some ways to make your tech greener

VMware Spinoff

Dell to get $9.7B from its planned VWware spinoff to pay down long term debt

It Is World Data Backup Day 2021

World Backup Day is March 31 – Treat data backups like a fire drill – practice being safe before the real thing happens so you can get your files back

Web Pioneers AOL and Yahoo Liquidated

Web Pioneers AOL and Yahoo LiquidatedWeb pioneers AOL and Yahoo have been sold. Verizon sold the two early Internet powerhouses to the private equity firm Apollo Global Management. For these once tech titans, the deal represents failure to adapt and thrive as the internet evolved. A history of mis-steps and bad timing lead both AOL and Yahoo to be sold for 10% of their peak values

America Online

AOL, founded in 1991 as a BBS for Commodore 64 computers, went public in 1992. Estimates put AOL’s value at $226 billion by 2001. Over 35 million users accessed the Internet via AOL. The firm had a history of preventing users canceling their subscriptions. In 2001 America Online bought Time Warner for $182 billion in cash and stock. The move buried the company in debt just before the dotcom bubble burst and the rise of broadband made AOL’s dial-up services virtually obsolete. AOL languished until Verizon bought the property in 2015 

Yahoo

Yahoo (YHOO), founded in 1994 had 3 billion users at its peak. It had a total revenue of over $1.8 billion at it peak in 2008. Yahoo has a history of misses as well. In 1999 it spent nearly $10 billion to buy GeoCities and Broadcast.com, both of which the company eventually shut down. It spent $1.1 billion on Tumblr in 2013, and sold it for less than $3 million in 2019. The Internet pioneer rejected a $44.6 billion takeover offer from Microsoft in 2008, only to sell to Verizon for 10% of that value less than ten years later. Yahoo has the dubious honor of enabling the largest know data breach – leaking all 3 billion accounts. Verizon bought Yahoo in 2017 for $4.5 billion.

Verizon (VZ) sold the Verizon Media group for $4.25 billion in cash and a 10% stake in the new company. The former internet empires will be rebranded “Yahoo,” according to the announcement. Verizon said they expect the sale to close in the second half of 2021. The sale includes online news outlets TechCrunch, Yahoo Finance, and Engadget.

Verizon is cutting its losses

The deal values the former powerhouse businesses at significantly lower prices than Verizon paid just a few years ago.

David Sambur, co-head of private equity at Apollo, said in a statement touted the company’s strong recent recovery from last year’s lows in CEO-speak;

We are big believers in the growth prospects of Yahoo and the macro tailwinds driving growth in digital media, advertising technology and consumer internet platforms.

The deal is Verizon’s latest step toward exiting the media market. Verizon sold HuffPost to BuzzFeed last year. it also shut down other popular properties including Yahoo Answers.

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Call me cynical, but what happens to the few remaining staff? The PE playbook says to remove assets and pump in debt to either spin-out the remains in an IPO or go bankrupt and write off the debt in a fire sale. Meanwhile Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan gets to keep his CEO position at the new Yahoo.

Hopefully Verizon will focus on its core wireless networks business and other internet provider businesses. Opensignal reports that 5G connections are still rare for U.S. consumers. They found that users connected to mmWave 5G less than 1% of the time. Verizon was the “best” for time connected – a whopping 0.8%, compared to 0.5% for both AT&T and T-Mobile users. 

Yahoo and AOL were early tech titans as the consumer internet formed, but have now fallen into the hands of private equity.

Stay safe out there !

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Record Breaking Proofpoint Buyout

Record Breaking Proofpoint buyoutThoma Bravo agreed to a record breaking Proofpoint buyout. The Chicago-based private equity firm plans to buy out publicly traded cybersecurity company Proofpoint (PFPT). The cash deal values Proofpoint at $12.3 billion. Thoma Bravo has agreed to acquire the company with a $176.00 per share price. That is a 34% premium to its trading price starting 04/23/2021.

Proofpoint buyout

Proofpoint Chief Executive Gary Steele told MarketWatch

Proofpoint logo…in 2020 we generated more than $1 billion in annual revenue – making Proofpoint the first SaaS-based cybersecurity and compliance company to reach that milestone

The board of directors of Proofpoint has approved the Proofpoint buyout agreement, including a deadline called the go shop, which expires on June 9th. This means that the company has 45 days to consider proposals from other parties.

About Proofpoint

Former Netscape CTO Eric Hahn, founded Proofpoint in June 2002. He helped launch the company in 2003 having raised $7m in a Series A funding round. Proofpoint was initially backed by venture capitalists Benchmark Capital and by Stanford University. In 2012, the company went public with an IPO which raised more than $80m.

About Thoma Bravo

Thoma Bravo logoChicago’s Thoma Bravo specializes in technology deals. The PE firm has previously made investments in SolarWinds, a software company that is in the midst of a huge cyberespionage campaign. Thoma Bravo has also bought up controlling stakes in cybersecurity companies in the past, including:

  • Barracuda in a 2017 deal worth $1.6 billion;
  • Imperva for $2.1 billion in October 2018; 
  • Sophos in 2020 for $3.9 billion.

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This is a big deal. The $12.3 billion price tag makes it the biggest cybersecurity acquisition of all time. More than the $7.68 billion Intel shelled out for McAfee 11 years ago. And VentureBeat estimates that the Proofpoint acquisition represents one of the biggest overall technology acquisitions ever, putting it in the top 20, alongside megadeals that include Dell’s $67 billion EMC purchase, IBM’s $34 billion Red Hat deal, and Salesforce’s pending $27.7 billion Slack acquisition.

Stay safe out there !

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

Earth Day 2021

Earth Day 2021Earth Day is April 22nd. It is the 51st Earth Day. Earth Day is “celebrated around the world when people take time to appreciate humankind’s connection to the Earth and to raise awareness of our environmental challenges,” according to the Earth Day Initiative.

environmental protectionMore than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year. Earth day is the largest civic observance in the world. At the first Earth Day in 1970, concerned citizens gathered across the country to learn about environmental degradation. The activism that followed led to the passing of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. These are still landmark legislation in environmental protection.

How to commemorate Earth Day

To commemorate Earth Day 2021, here are some ways to make your tech greener.

  • Reuse Old PC’s – Retired hardware can be used for tasks with lower resource requirements. They can also be re-sold – after wiping your data, of course.
  • Responsibly RecycleResponsibly Recycle – The toxic materials in electronic devices can contain dangerous materials like Cadmium, Mercury Hexavalent chromium and Flame retardants.  Be sure to recycle your electronic waste responsibly to avoid leakage of harmful substances into the environment.
  • User more efficient hardwareSolid State Disk Drives (SSDs) – use less energy than traditional HDDs. An SSD can extend your laptop battery life by 30-45 minutes on average. And they are quitier too.
  • Skip the printer – Use online communications. By skipping the printer you can save a tree and save the money you waste on printer ink. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the average person makes 10,000 copies or prints annually at the office plus printing at home.
  • Skip the daily commute – Thanks to COVID, most of use are telecommuting now but – skipping the  commuting to the job can reduce green house gas CO2 that causes climate change. And you can save some cash paying for gas.

Stay safe out there !

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

VMware Spinoff

VMware SpinoffThe rumor mill got it right again. On Wednesday 04/15/2021 Dell Technologies confirmed the long speculated plans to spinoff VMware. The VMware spinoff will create two standalone public companies. Dell will continue to trade on the NYSE as DELL and VMware will trade as VMW.

Cash dividend of up to $12 billionThe deal includes a VMware cash dividend of up to $12 billion to all VMware shareholders, including Dell Technologies. Dell owns an 81% stake in VMware. Dell took over VMware when they acquired EMC in September 2016 for $58B. The VMware spin-off could yield Dell up to $9.7 billion to pay down it’s long-term debt of $41.62 billion. Dell shareholders would receive 0.44 shares of VMware for each Dell share that they hold as of 04/14/2021.

VMware spinoff

TechCrunch observes that the VMware spinoff will not be a clean break. The companies will continue to work closely together at least for another five years. VMware plans to sell its products through the Dell sales team. Dell Financial Services will continue to finance VMware deals. Finally, there is a formalized governance process in place related to achieving the commercial goals under the agreement.

VMware spinoff will not be a clean breakThe VMware spinoff is expected to close during the fourth quarter of calendar 2021, pending a favorable IRS ruling. TechCrunch says  That includes getting a favorable ruling from the IRS that the deal qualifies for a tax-free spin-off, would be a considerable hurdle for the deal.

VMware spinoff changes at the top

Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell will continue to lead the PC giant. He will also remain chairman of VMware’s board.Mr. Dell said in CEO-speak;

Dell logoBy spinning off VMware, we expect to drive additional growth … and unlock significant value for stakeholders. Both companies will remain important partners … differentiated advantage in how we bring solutions to customers … embrace new opportunities through an open ecosystem …

Zane Rowe will remain interim CEO of VMware, as the virtualization company continues to evaluate permanent CEO options to succeed Pat Gelsinger — who left the virtualization juggernaut for Chipzilla earlier this year.

Zane Rowe interim CEO of VMwareMr. Rowe told Reuters the spinoff could also allow VMware to strike more partnerships with major cloud computing providers. “This will clearly give us a lot of flexibility strategically to do more partnerships.”  The VMware spinoff will allow the independent firm to pursue deals with Amazon and Microsoft, which are Dell’s primary technology competitors.

Dell financial maneuvers

Founded in 1984, Dell initially went public in 1988. Through a record-breaking leveraged buyout Dell returned to private ownership under Michael Dell in 2013. After buying EMC in 2016, Dell again undertook a complex financial move to become public again to help the company raise funds.

VMware

VMware logoVMware was founded in 1998 and acquired by EMC in 2004. EMC sold part of its stake in an initial public offering in 2007. EMC’s holdings in VMware passed to Dell when it acquired EMC in 2016 in the largest successful acquisition in the technology industry.

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In another effort to slim down the company, Dell is exploring options to selling its Boomi cloud business for $3 billion. Dell Technologies sold Boomi for about $4 billion. The proceeds should help Dell reduce its debt. The data integration company is being purchased by the investment firm Francisco Partners along with the private equity firm TPG Capital. The sale is expected to close by the end of 2021.

Boomi provides cloud-based integration platform as a service (iPaaS) for more than 15,000 customers. Dell acquired Boomi in 2010.

Stay safe out there !

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.

It Is World Data Backup Day 2021

It Is World Data Backup Day 2021The tenth annual World data backup day is March 31, 2021. World data backup day is a time to remember to backup the data on your computer, your phone and other mobile devices. Data backup is a not-so-hard way to avoid a disaster because your chances of losing your data are pretty good.

Consider the following:

  • 30% of people have never backed up
  • 113 phones lost or stolen every minute
  • 1 in 10 computers are infected with a virus every month
  • 31% of PC users have lost all of their files due to events beyond their control
  • 140,000 hard drives crash in the US every week
  • 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down with 6 months of the disaster

World backup day


Your data is worth more than your devices

Hardware is cheap and getting cheaper. What is the value of the new business plan you spent three months writing? The music and movies you have on your devices? The cute video of your kid’s trip to the beach or your puppy being a goof? You can get a new computer or phone, but you cant replace those important files without a backup.

Why you should have a data backup plan

There are several scenarios that could take place where having a backup of your data would be useful:

  • Your phone gets stolen, and you lose all your pictures and videos.
  • An external hard drive crashes, deleting your home videos.
  • You forget your laptop in a cafe and you’ve lost all your homework.
  • A virus holds your data hostage until you pay to remove the restraints.
  • You accidentally delete something important,

What to do?

backup your dataThe advantage of having your important data backed up off-site, away from your home or office, is that it’s safe from theft, fire, and other local disasters. When you backup your data, you’re making a second copy of files you don’t want to lose. Should something happen to the originals, you can restore the data backups to your computer or mobile device with a backup.

Technically, a backup just refers to any piece of data that exists in two places. The primary purpose of a data backup is to have a recovery plan should the primary data become inaccessible. It is common to keep backups offsite like online or, at the very least, on a second hard drive, even another internal one.

Your data backup options

There a 2 types of cloud services to hold you data backups. The first is a cloud storage service for keeping your data safely backed up online. A cloud storage service a place to selectively upload important files that you need to keep off of your physical device.Your data backup options

If you are a Microsoft 365 customer – OneDrive cloud back up is included in most plans.

If you prefer Google, Google Drive is a cloud backup option to investigate.

iCloud is cloud storage for Apple devices.

There are lots of other cloud storage services to pick from.

Some argue that using these services gives the tech-titans more access to your data. If that concerns you there is a second option.  Cloud backup services let you backup data automatically and on a schedule. There are many Cloud Backup services to chose from as well.

encryptionWhen backing up to the cloud be sure you understand level of encryption they offer. When you encrypt data, you encode it so only authorized people can read it. It is up to you to keep your backup secure. Use a strong password and choose the 448-bit option, the maximum encryption offered by many providers. It would take a computer millions of years to crack the encryption and gain access to your data.  

Don’t forget to test your data back up

Remember that you haven’t really backed anything up unless you can restore it.

Many people are unable to restore their data backup because they forgot or lost their decryption password – Keep it somewhere secure – But not in your back up. Or they never did a practice restore so they simply weren’t practiced enough in using their tool to use it reliably – when the pressure was on.

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Whether to a USB drive, an external drive, the cloud or a private server, backup all that important data somewhere safe. Do this often.

Treat restoring data back ups like a fire drill – practice being safe  before the real thing happens and you aren’t fighting against both fear and unfamiliarity at the same time.

Stay safe out there !

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Ralph Bach has been in IT long enough to know better and has blogged from his Bach Seat about IT, careers and anything else that catches his attention since 2005. You can follow him at LinkedInFacebook and Twitter. Email the Bach Seat here.