Friday, January 11, 2013

Justice department and M&A

Yesterday, the Justice Department filed suit challenging Bazaarvoice's mid- '12 acquistion of PowerReviews. If you blinked, you may have missed the transation as it's value was $168mm and PowerReview had revenues of $11.5mm.

Bazaarvoice offers a SaaS solution for customers to create and share ratings, reviews, etc and they syndicate these reviews across the web. Its clients more easliy create online social communities and have analytics to drive marketing and sales. PowerReviews is/was a competitor to Bazaarvoice.

I have not looked too deeply into the merits of the case, however, the low profile of the deal, the size of the seller, and the acquisition value seems to represent a very public statement by the government that they are going to be ever more mindful of the technology space for M&A and other anti-competitive actions. This suit, coupled with the FTC's recent review of Google's anti-trust position, and the FTC review of the Instagram buy should be a boon for lawyers.

Notwithstanding the merits of either of these cases, an active government oversight of the industry should mean that stakeholders should expect some dampening of  the M&A path to liquidity.

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