Roku, the Internet-powered set top box, has raised $45 million in funding from BSkyB, News Corp, Menlo Ventures, and Globespan Capital Partners. BSkyB is a strategic partner Now TV on-demand with Roku as well. Roku plans to use the funding to expand internationally, increase advertising, and invest in digital services/hardware. News Corp’s Jon Miller will be joining Roku’s board of directors.
Jonathan Miller Posts
Stock image website Shutterstock.com has announced that they have filed a Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Shutterstock proposed an IPO with a maximum offering price of $115 million. The company is working with Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank Securities, and Jefferies as their IPO bookrunners. RBC Capital Markets, Stifel Nicolaus Weisel, and William Blair will be co-managers of the deal.
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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has acquired Kosmix for over $300 million according to a source with AllThingsD. Kosmix is a social media platform company that has raised $55 million in funding from Time Warner Investments, Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, DAG Ventures, Bezos Expeditions, Jonathan Miller, and Ed Zander.
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News Corporation digital chief Jonathan Miller said that MySpace is not in talks for a sale. “We are definitely not in any ongoing talks for a sale of MySpace,” said Miller at the Allen & Co. media conference. However Miller added that MySpace plans to relaunch with new features later this year. [Reuters]
News Roundup: Twitter Surpasses 1.2B Monthly Tweets and Hires Ali Rowghani, ComScore Buys ARSgroup, GameFly IPO, Scrapblog Raises $2.5M, MySpace CEO Natta Resigns
Twitter Surpasses 1B Monthly Tweets
Twitter has surpassed 1 billion tweets per month. About 1.2 billion tweets were sent out in the month of January, averaging to about 40 million per day [Pingdom]. Twitter has also hired a new CFO. Ali Rowghani will be coming to Twitter from Pixar where he served as CFO [Mashable].
ComScore Buys ARSgroup
COMSCORE, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCOR) has acquired ARSgroup. ARSgroup is an ad research company. The financial details were undisclosed and the deal is expected to close in March. [paidContent]
GameFly is a Los Angeles based online video game rental company that has just filed a $50 million IPO on the NASDAQ Global Market. GameFly will trade under the symbol GFLY. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Piper Jaffray, Cowen and Company, and William Blair & Company are the companies underwriting the deal. GameFly’s investors include Sequoia Capital, Tenaya Capital, and several other investors. The company launched in 2002. [SoCalTech]
Scrapblog Raises $2.5M
Scrapblog is a website where users can create online scrapbooks. The company has just raised $2.5 million from Steamboat Ventures, the VC firm owned by The Walt Disney Company. Scrapblog now has a total of $10 million in funding. [VentureBeat]
MySpace CEO Natta Resigns
MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta has resigned after about 10 months on the job. “While this may be a surprising turn of events for some of you, I am absolutely confident that this change is best for all parties involved and–most importantly–the MySpace business,” stated News Corp chief digital officer in an internal memo [WSJ].
In the video above, Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg ask newly appointed MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta and newly appointed News Corp. Chief Digital Officer Jonathan Miller some tough questions.
What makes this interview interesting is when Van Natta was asked what makes MySpace’s strengths and weaknesses are. Van Natta said that MySpace’s strength was that it is a lot more open and people on the network are a lot more interested in sharing information. But the reason why some people may be leaving MySpace for alternatives is because of an innovation issue.
Last week I wrote about how former Facebook co-founder Owen Van Natta will become the new MySpace CEO. Now it appears that News Corporation will be hiring former AOL executive Mike Jones as the COO of the social networking company as well.
“Michael’s operational insight and knowledge of the social media market will prove to be a valuable asset as we set out to evolve the MySpace product offering,” stated Jon Miller, Chief Digital Officer of News Corporation. “From a product perspective, there’s no better choice than Jason, who is highly regarded as an incredibly talented innovator, media executive and leader, all qualities I know will greatly benefit our team and our users.”
Miller is the former head of AOL which is where he most likely met Jones for the first time. I have a feeling that this won’t be the last time that News Corporation will poach executives from AOL. MySpace founders Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe are still negotiating other leadership roles within News Corporation.
News Corporation has also hired Jason Hirschhorn as the new Chief Product Officer of MySpace. Hirschhorn was President of Sling Media Group before attaining this position.
Chris DeWolfe is one of the MySpace creators and was the CEO as of yesterday. Now that he is out of the CEO position, there is a chance that former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta will be recruited. Supposedly Natta left Facebook because he wanted to be CEO, but Zuckerberg did not accept that. Sheryl Sandberg ended up replacing Natta.
Jon Miller is working on the details with Natta according to AllThingsD. News Corp. was not planning to have DeWolfe leave the company but then TechCrunch reported that the company was looking for a replacement. DeWolfe and Miller then started negotiating over the phone. Both MySpace founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson will end up on different roles within News Corp.
Below is the internal e-mail sent out to News Corp. (Fox Interactive Media) employees:
To FIM Employees:
I am writing to share the news that MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe will be stepping down from his executive role in the near future. He has agreed to serve as a strategic advisor to the Company and will remain on the board of MySpace China.
In addition, I am currently in discussions with MySpace President Tom Anderson regarding his role within the organization.
I want to take this opportunity to thank them both for their incredible contributions to the Company, and for pioneering one of the greatest social media revolutions of our time. I wish Chris nothing but the best in any new endeavors and, like many in this industry, am eager to witness his next innovations.
I understand the importance of having a dynamic, inspiring and innovative management team, and am dedicated to ensuring that MySpace continues to benefit from the highest levels of passion and enthusiasm.
I also want to thank everyone across FIM for giving me the opportunity to work with all of you. With MySpace, IGN, Photobucket, Fox Audience Network and our Digital Publishing Group, this is an exciting collective of properties and I’m enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead.
I hope to meet and work closely with many of you over the weeks and months to come.