News Byte

AOL Gets Out of Kayak

Forgive me if this is old news, but it seemed new to me: AOL says it has sold off its stake in Kayak, the giant travel site (okay, not giant, but big among the iPad-owning tech set, at least), for $19 million. The company mentions the deal as an aside in its Q2 earnings release and says the deal closed late last month. It had owned a chunk of Kayak since 2004; the sale is part of an overall slim-down effort that has seen the company dump Bebo and ICQ, among other assets.

DST's Alexander Tamas Talks About New Investors, New Investments and Dealing With Troubling Russian Stereotypes

After Russia-based Internet investor Digital Sky Technologies got $388 million in a stock-swapping deal with South Africa media giant Naspers — coming after an earlier $300 million investment from China’s Internet behemoth Tencent — BoomTown dialed up DST partner Alexander Tamas in London to interview him about the implications. This developing international spiderweb of digital and media companies begged the question of what DST might do with all this new dough, especially since it has created quite a splash over the last year investing massive gobs of money in high-profile, social-focused U.S. Internet companies.

Let's Go to the Videotape: SB Nation's Jim Bankoff Speaks!

While in Washington, D.C., recently, I paid a visit to Jim Bankoff, who is now helming a fascinating start-up called SB Nation, a fast-growing sports blog and news platform. With over 200 individual communities, it’s a mix of professional and user-generated content aimed at engaging passionate fans.

Sold! Finally: Digital Sky Technologies Buys AOL’s ICQ

AOL clears another asset off its books: Digital Sky Technologies, the Russian investors with a seemingly insatiable appetite for American Web properties, is buying Tim Armstrong’s ICQ chat service. They’re paying $187.5 million.

Why Are AOL Shares Up Today? Maybe for Admitting Bebo Is a Total Bust?

AOL shares pushed higher today than they have been since its November spinoff, rising almost four percent to close at $27.44. And the reason for the rise? One savvy investor suggested it was due to yesterday’s announcement that the company might shut down Bebo, the social networking site it egregiously overpaid for in 2008. Rather than finding a buyer, said the investor, a shutdown might allow the company to write down the purchase, yielding it hundreds of millions of dollars in tax savings.

AOL’s “Forget the Last Few Years Campaign” Continues With Sale

Another marker in Tim Armstrong’s campaign to undo just about every part the old regime at AOL: The company has sold, an affiliate marketing company it bought two years ago. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to hear what happens to ICQ, among other assets.

SAP CEO Steps Down

The Bids Are In for AOL's Sale of ICQ–It's Down to a "U.N." of Four Buyers

AOL has taken another step closer to selling off its ICQ instant messaging service, culling seven bids to four “serious” ones, said sources close to the situation. The price for the service is hovering just under $200 million, several sources said, with one bid 15 to 20 percent higher. Sources said that the solicitation of bids is now over, with the four remaining described by one source as a “U.N. of buyers.”


DST Invests in a FarmVille Plot

Digital Sky Technologies, a Russian firm that has pursued investments in Facebook and AOL’s ICQ, said Wednesday that it is buying a $180 million stake in social-gaming company Zynga. Zynga, which is closely held and based in San Francisco, is behind casual videogames like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, which have become popular time-wasters on Facebook and MySpace.

Tim Armstrong Makes One Last Pitch for AOL: “No More Hail Marys”

AOL is about to cut ties to Time Warner, and CEO Tim Armstrong has been making his case to current and potential investors. Here’s one last pitch, delivered to the crowd at the annual UBS Media and Communications Conference in New York.

AOL: We Need to Fire 2,500 “Volunteers”

AOL Socializes Even More With New Lifestream