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April 27, 2007

Panda Software Company Sold Cheap

panda antivirus

Panda software, one of top antivirus software companies in the world, has been purchased by a Venture Capital Syndicate. Panda software founders have sold 75% of the company at a reported €133m valuation. Oddly, Panda has not issued an official press release. The valuation is a sales multiple of less than times one last reported revenues. An inexplicably low sale price for a world player in the antivirus market.


Local hero, Mikel Urizarbarrena, has always been a reference to EUCAP partners in northern Spain. Mr. Urizarbarrena has created a world leading software security company, while retaining 100% of founder equity. A staggering entrepreneurial feat.

As recently as 2005, Panda was ranked number four in market share, as shown in the table below.

Worldwide 2005 Total Antivirus Software Revenue for All Software Segment Types (Millions of Dollars)

Company 2005 2005 Market Share (%) 2004 2004 Market Share (%) 2004-2005 Growth (%)
Symantec 2,150.4 53.6 1,915.3 54.2 12.3
McAfee 753.9 18.8 666.5 18.9 13.1
Trend Micro 555.7 13.8 509.3 14.4 9.1
Panda Software 128.6 3.2 103.9 2.9 23.8
CA 86.5 2.2 75.3 2.1 14.9
Other Vendors 340.2 8.5 263.0 7.5 29.4
Total 4,015.4 100.0 3,533.2 100.0 13.6

Source: Gartner Dataquest (June 2006)

Currently, Symantec has a market cap of €12b, and McAfee €4b. F-Secure, a recent European entrant to the top 5 antivirus products, has a €380m market cap on the Helsinki stock exchange.

On these 2005 sales multiples, Panda should have been valued in the €700m range.

The speculation is that recent Panda revenues have come under pressure from smaller entrants like Sophos, F-Secure and Bitdefender (SOFTWIN), in the race for new hardware platforms like mobile, and the lucrative corporate market.

As the market consolidates further, it is clear capital is the key to funding the marketing and sales drive required to maintain market share. One can speculate that Panda was under-capitalized during 2006, as the founders were reluctant to accept new shareholders.

Hopefully, the supposed €100m injected in the company will provide the impetus to consolidate its market share, and see Mr Urizarbarrena through to a successful public offering at a billion € valuation.

[Via Investindustrial y Gala Capital compran Panda Software - CincoDias.com]

A press release has been issued

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April 21, 2007

Google Aiming for the Radio Advertising Marketplace

google audio

Google's pursuit of the advertising marketplace continuous relentless. Though radio advertising is unrelated to organizing the world's information, their Audio Adwords is looking to impact the advertising agency sector hugely.

adwords audio

More businesses are trying Google radio Ads in their Adwords account. The reviews from testers seem generally positive.

The air time available has now been extended to a supposed 675 radio stations. Though, like for Adwords, Google will not reveal its media list. Given what Adwords and Adsense have done for online media publishing, Google's Audio Adwords could revolutionize radio station economics, be it traditional air-wave or podcast radios.

I am impressed by Google's solution to the problem of creating the audio spot. Composing an audio spot is harder than making an Adwords text box. Writing, composing and recording requires experience, training and a technical setup. Google provides a crowdsourcing marketplace tool, where you can invite audio industry professionals to bid for the design and recording project. The electronic job board allows up to five professionals to bid on your audio project.

The tariff rate for airing the radio spot is the same as Adwords; CPM, cost per thousand listeners. Plus, testing is easy and cheap. You can try different stations, zip codes, demographics, airing times and find the slots that best work for you. Split testing becomes feasible for small merchants.

The possibilities for the new radio ads marketplace are dizzying. Just like Adwords catalyzed a whole online publisher industry, the potential for economic growth in complemeting sectors are great investment areas.

The only stakeholders loosing out are the creative advertising agencies who currently hold a near-monopoly on mediating between advertisers and radio stations. The creative added value provided will be crowdsourced out; brand design and innovation will be the only added value left to them.

[Via Nick Piggott]

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April 20, 2007

Google Long Term Enemy of Advertising Agencies

Sir Martin Sorrell, the WPP Group chief executive, bills in excess of €40 billion euros in advertising and marketing services. His views of the doubleclick acquisition are understandably apprehensive, he states
"It's going to be very interesting to see how it shakes out. We buy about $200m of their media and that's up from about 150m last year. Google is a short-term friend and a long-term enemy and probably the shorter term just got a little bit shorter and the longer term got a bit closer as a result of the DoubleClick acquisition,"

"It raises issues as to whether we are happy to let Google have our clients' data and our own data, which Google could use for its own purposes in contextual and targeted advertising."


Doubleclick is one of advertising agencies preferred banner campaign management tools. Its software pioneered the start of banner advertising in the late 1990s. Its current DART version, which we use at Enclick and Hispavista, allows advertising managers to optimize banner servicing per a demographic and per user.

Doubleclick also provides value-added services like email marketing and search engine marketing, ppc and data feed campaign management. Essential value added services for marketing agencies.

Though Doubleclick also offers its own in-house marketing agency service, it has nowhere near the level of threat and reach of Google's Adwords advertising. Google has deftly acquired one of the top online advertising management tools. With Google's clear intent to dis intermediate the online advertising value chain, the Doubleclick software is now a sword hanging over the inefficient advertising agency market.

Google can now clear a path for merchants to plan, deploy and manage the lucrative CPM-banner advertising, directly onto publisher websites, just like Adword campaigns. The move is inline with Google intention of creating a transparent and efficient advertising marketplace.

Unfortunately, as with much of the search engine marketing, this largely bypasses the advertising agencies, leaving them without the high-margin brand-CPM campaigns. Nevertheless, Google is disingenuous in denying the increased conflict; Dennis Woodside, the managing director of Google UK, Ireland and Benelux, says

"We are talking about a competitive market. Users have a huge choice about how they search information. There are a lot of ways an advertiser can get out to market. There's nothing stopping them going to any number of online companies.

Yes, the market is competitive, but if Google offers the Doubleclick services for free like its Urchin/Analytics, the market just got a hundred times more competitive for advertising agencies. The market will become a lot more transparent; the end-of-year kick-backs that publishers must pay advertising agencies to be included in their media buying might disappear altogether.

[Via Google is a long-term enemy says Sorrell - Brand Republic News - Brand Republic]

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April 13, 2007

Google's New Personalized Maps a Threat to Map Mashup Startups

google maps

Startup companies where Google's services are central live dangerously. Today Google launched customisable maps, with an aggregation and social filtering. Companies like

which offer maps of interesting places submitted and reviewed by their community observe with apprehension. Google has only introduced a simple sharing function for the maps; social aggregation and filtering or tagging are, so far, absent.

Google should offer assurances to companies collaborating and cooperating through Google's web services and APIs. Google should signal it will refrain from entering their space, otherwise Google's open commons community, and crowdsourcing ecosystem will vanish.

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