Intel's security software/services unit reportedly receives private-equity interest
Two weeks after the Financial Times reported Intel (INTC) - Get Report is weighing options for Intel Security, Bloomberg reports PE firms Thoma Bravo, Vista Equity and Permira are conducting preliminary research on Intel Security, as the chip giant considers selling the unit. Thoma Bravo just snapped up healthcare security software firm Imprivata for $544 million. Vista has bought a slew of enterprise software companies lately.
Intel Security stems from Intel's $7.7 billion 2010 purchase of McAfee, and posted a 2015 operating profit of $210 million on revenue of $2.2 billion. Intel might have a hard time receiving a bid for the unit that matches its 2010 purchase price, given the growth and competitive challenges its security unit has faced. All the same, investors might be pleased to see Intel unload a business that has been a distraction for a company that has quite a lot on its plate, and in doing so pare a debt load that stood at $25.4 billion at the end of the first quarter.
Bloomberg's report and the Imprivata deal are the latest signs the security IT space is in the middle of a consolidation wave. FireEye (FEYE) - Get Reportand Imperva(IMPV) - Get Report are two other names rumored to be exploring options.
Nokia gains after expanding its Samsung licensing deal
This winter, Nokia (NOK) - Get Report received an arbitration ruling that set it up to receive at least €1.3 billion ($1.44 billion) in patent licensing fees from Samsung from 2016 through 2018. Now, the Finnish telecom equipment giant has expanded its Samsung licensing deal to cover additional patents.
As a result, Nokia now expects its patent/brand licensing business to be on a $1.05 billion a year run rate by the end of 2016. At the time of the arbitration ruling, the Nokia Technologies that houses the licensing business was said to be only at an €800 million a year run rate at the end of 2015.
Nokia rose 5.4% on Wednesday thanks to the deal. It arguably validates the hopes of those who predicted the sale of the company's phone unit to Microsoft(MSFT) - Get Report would allow it to better monetize its massive patent portfolio, as it significantly lowers Nokia's need to cross-license patents from phone manufacturers. Is a more lucrative licensing deal with Apple(AAPL) - Get Report on tap? Nokia's existing licensing deal with Apple, which was struck in 2011, reportedly expires at the end of 2016.
Angie's List removes paywall for local services reviews, goes after Yelp
Angie's List (ANGI) - Get Reporthas officially made its giant database of user reviews of local service providers, previously available only to subscribers, free to all. The company had announced in March it planned to ditch its paywall, shortly after coming to terms with activist TCS Capital.
Angie's still plans to charge $25/year for a "Silver" tier featuring service guarantees, discounts, and chat/e-mail customer support, and $100/year for a "Gold" tier that adds phone support and a complaint resolution process. But membership revenue has already been diminishing in importance for the company relative to service provider revenue, and made up only 19% of first-quarter revenue.
The paywall takedown spells tougher competition for Yelp (YELP) - Get Report, which gets a healthy portion (though by no means all) of its traffic from local service provider business pages and reviews. Given their unique content assets, both Yelp and Angie's have long been the subject of buyout speculation. Yelp reportedly explored a sale last year before changing its mind, and TCS at one point was pushing for Angie's to merge with InterActiveCorp's (IAC) - Get Report HomeAdvisor unit.