Mobile, maps and marketers dominate acquisition headlines

The past week in the M&A landscape has been made particularly remarkable by a third straight week of $1 billion+ acquisitions by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Should the company’s proposed IPO go through later in the year, the firm will certainly hold an impressive portfolio of assets across all segments of the Chinese market. In other news, Good Technology purchased a mobile security company in a bid to beef up its bring-your-own-device (BYOD) offering and job crowdsourcer Freelancer.com added a marketing forum arm to its business.

Alibaba finalises navigational app purchase

In the past three weeks Chinese web retailing behemoth Alibaba has completed deals for an offline retail chain, a pay-TV business and now a mobile map navigation app. This diversity of interests underlines the company’s grab-all market expansion strategy. It seems there are few major digital or retailing businesses in China that Alibaba does not have its sights on. Judging by the rush in activity and acquisition expenditures totalling over $3 billion over the past month alone, the firm has been more impressive in its market grab than major local rival Tencent. The company’s latest deal was for AutoNavi, a mobile map app, in what will expand its 28% stake in the business to full ownership at a valuation of $21 per share. In all, Alibaba valued the company at $1.5 billion and the deal has been scheduled to be finalised later in the year. The acquisition will give Alibaba a leadership position in the provision of digital map content and navigation solutions in China.

Good Technology readies for BYOD market expansion

The BYOD market is still in its infancy despite the proven productivity and logistical sense of syncing staff handheld wireless devices with workplace databases. Nonetheless, once businesses are confident that security will not be compromised, the market for BYOD solutions looks set to expand rapidly. As BlackBerry can attest, providing secure mobile solutions to corporates is a lucrative business. In preparation for sector expansion, California-based Good Technology, a provider of mobile safety and management solutions to big enterprises, purchased mobile device management company BoxTone for $101 million. The deal was allegedly made up of equity, securities and options. The company hopes to solidify its mobile solutions offering in a bid to fend off growing competition for its larger clients.

Freelancer snaps up marketing forum

Part of Freelancer’s continuing strategy in acquiring small but relevant businesses, the Australian firm purchased Warrior Forum for $3.2 million. The acquired site offers a hub for web marketers to share ideas within the industry. Freelancer likely hopes to utilise the forum as an additional stream of human resources in its global recruitment network. The firm has focused traditionally on writers and engineers but is looking at paths of expanding its reach beyond existing connections to over 10 million employers. Warrior Forum will function as an independent subsidiary, with Freelancer devoting a team and resources to drive the platform’s expansion.

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