Rumors that the Gilt Groupe is preparing for a fall IPO were fueled this week by news that the company underwent a significant reorganization, which saw CMO Lizzie Francis and VP Jyothi Rao leave and several other employees lose their jobs. The New York-based designer e-commerce platform with over 6 million users most recently raised funds from the private markets in 2011, when a $138 million Series E led by Draper Fisher Jurveston was followed by an investment of an undisclosed amount by GSV Capital (a securitized VC fund) a few months later, bringing total funding to $236 million. The company retained Goldman Sachs in February to lead the offering.
The German e-commerce investor and incubator Rocket Internet has embarked on a roadshow to raise money for a possible IPO via the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Founded by three brothers, Oliver, Marc, and Alexander Samwer, Rocket Internet has nurtured companies that have been acquired by eBay, Groupon, and the News Corporation, the profits from which it has parlayed into substantial stakes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Zynga, and at one point over $1 billion of Groupon. The brothers have derisively been described as overseers of a “Clone Factory,” but with the firm hoping to raise as much as $4.71 billion, it appears that the characterization has done little to dampen expectations of continued financial success.
LinkedIn announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire Bizo, a B2B advertising platform, for a reported $175 million. After being spun off by ZoomInfo in 2008, Bizo raised over $20 million from investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Venrock, and Crosslink Capital, and has worked closely with LinkedIn over the last few years as a member of its API Partner Program. “LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful, while Bizo’s is to help B2B marketers get to the right people,” wrote Bizo CEO Russell Glass on the company’s website. “The combination of LinkedIn and Bizo greatly increases our ability to be the most effective platform for B2B marketers to reach their audiences, nurture prospects, and acquire customers.” LinkedIn may seek to use the acquisition to enhance the Sponsored Updates feature it introduced last July.
Reports on Thursday suggested that Google will pay $1 billion to acquire the videogame streaming forum Twitch. Twitch boasts over 50 million active monthly users who broadcast, watch, and chat about video games, watching a staggering 13 billion minutes of video per month. YouTube, meanwhile, which was acquired by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion, streams 6 billion hours of video per month. Google is expected to use Twitch’s live streaming capabilities to augment the services it currently provides through YouTube.
The Twitch deal, however, was not the only splash Google made in the M&A landscape this week. The search giant also came to terms with drawElements, a Helsinki-based, Android-specific 3D graphics company for an undisclosed, eight-figure sum. The drawElements workforce will be incorporated into Google’s team of Android developers. Google is also expected to finalize the sale of its Motorola Mobility smartphone business to Lenovo, for $2.91 billion, by the end of the month.