NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?
1. Google acquires Meebo. Google (GOOG), in an effort to expand its social networking brand and Google+, is purchasing Silicon Valley startup Meebo.
The acquisition will give Google access to the 7-year-old company's social publishing tools. Meebo "works with publishers and advertisers to help them connect with Web surfers for longer periods," according to the Huffington Post.
Apparently the startup had beginnings in the instant message realm, but has expanded its communication features, HuffPo says. Its Web audience tops roughly 100 million. Google+ has a user base of about 170 million users compared to Facebook's (FB - Get Report) whopping 900 million user ranks.Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however some speculated the startup went for about $100 million, according to media reports. 2. Revenue from licensing merchandise on the rise. Sales of licensed products (goods bearing the names and likenesses of cartoon characters, company logos, major sports teams and more) rose 5% in 2011 compared to 2010, the first increase in five years, according to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) 2012 Licensing Industry Report. The trade organization represents the estimated $200 billion global licensing industry. Some of the more notable highlights from LIMA's report include:
- Sales in character-related merchandise, the largest of the surveyed categories -- which encompasses celebrities, entertainment, TV and movies like Jessica Simpson, Gwen Stefani, Angry Birds and the Disney Princess and Harry Potter franchises -- rose 4.4% to nearly $2.5 billion.
- Trademark/brand licensing, the second largest category and the one associated with major corporate brands from leading packaged goods companies -- such as P&G (PG), General Mills (GSE) as well as classic brands like Coca-Cola (KO), Harley-Davidson (HOG) and Ford (F) -- surged 7.7% to $910 million, the association says.
- Sales of fashion licenses, including branded goods such as Perry Ellis, Polo Ralph Lauren and Liz Claiborne, rose 5.8% last year to $730 million.
- Licensed sports merchandise from the NBA, MLB and other sports leagues and individuals fueled a 3.9% sales gain, to $670 million;
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