February 09, 2007

Cisco Buys Social Networking Co Five Across

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 2/09/2007 09:33:00 AM
Cisco just bought Five Across which is an 11 person firm selling social networking software. It follows IBM's announcement that it would be getting into the social networking game with Lotus Connections.

Need to bring your affinity group closer to your online presence? How about building an interactive community with Five Across Connect 1.8 Community Builder - the leading platform for social networking and online communities. Learn how Connect 1.8 Community Builder can expand your web community, increase visitor retention and duration, build proximity with your brand and ultimately grow your business

I wonder if this has anything to do with social networking or more to do with Cisco wanting to get into the e-commerce and communications software business that IBM is in.

Only in Iraq: World's Largest Secure Satellite VOIP Network

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 2/09/2007 09:08:00 AM
The world's largest secure, satellite VOIP network has been handed over to the Iraq Ministry of the Interior. It was built by Blue Ridge Networks which is a VC backed company out of Chantilly Virginia.

A ceremony was recently held in Iraq to transfer authority over the IC2N from its US-based developers to the Iraq Ministry of the Interior (MOI), as announced by The Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT).

Blue Ridge Networks has announced the success of its high-assurance devices in building strong authentication and encryption into the world's largest secure VoIP network, the satellite-based Iraq Command and Control Network (IC2N).

As the world's largest fully meshed secure VoIP network, the IC2N has provided secure and non-secure voice and data services to the Iraqi MOI for more than two years. The project first started in November 2004 with the objective of connecting the major cities of Iraq with a private communications system to support the Interim Iraqi Elections in January 2005.

It's quite amazing how government contracts can spur innovation in out of the way places.

February 07, 2007

Hot Vietnamese IPOs

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 2/07/2007 11:33:00 PM

Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have been picked to advise on two hot Vietnamese IPOs. The two banks are Vietcombank and Mekong Delta Housing Development Bank.

"Vietcombank picks Credit Suisse and the Mekong Delta Housing Development Bank picks Deutsche Bank as consultants," State Bank of Vietnam Deputy Governor Phung Khac Ke said on the sidelines of a World Bank event in Hanoi.

This is another sign that the Vietnamese economy is going capitalist.

The two banks are among four that the government has ordered to work toward listings on the communist-run country's stock exchange this year. The others are Incombank (Industrial and Commercial Bank) and Vietindebank (Bank for Investment and Development.)

Vietcombank, or the Bank for Foreign Trade, is Vietnam's second-largest bank. Last week, the bank reported that its profit almost doubled in 2006 while assets grew 24 percent to 169.46 trillion dong ($10.5 billion).

After-tax profit soared 91.5 percent from 2005 to 2.47 trillion dong ($153 million), the unlisted bank said in a statement issued through the Ho Chi Minh Securities Trading Centre.

Not bad for a developing country bank. How many first world banks do you see with numbers like that!?

Virgin Goes Portal

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 2/07/2007 11:26:00 PM
Richard Branson has decided to "Go Portal." It's spending big marketing dollars to jump start its own portal, going after the business of Yahoo and MSN. Virgin Media, formed by the merger of Virgin Mobile and NTL:Telewest, launches this week with a £1m online ad campaign as it goes head-to-head with MSN and Yahoo! to become the UK's top entertainment portal. Virginmedia.com will become the central portal, competing against established portals along with other ambitious media companies, like Orange, looking to boost their portal presence. " The virginmedia.com launch will be the biggest UK portal launch.

My take is that this is a bit of a late move, but it could work because Virgin controls quite a bit of media content. If they can successfully leverage their offline properties to drive traffic to the site, it might actually work. As a sign of the offline strategy, they're starting to pass out leaflets.

When was the last time that a portal passed out leaflet to promote itself?

MySpace Defends User Domains

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 2/07/2007 11:25:00 PM
MySpace has made an interesting move by protecting the branded MySpace.com domains which have been registered by MySpace users.

MySpace is not letting corporations take over the profiles of users who have selected such personalized extensions as myspace.com/google, myspace.com/mcdonalds or myspace.com/pepsi.

In terms of social media marketing, having such a branded MySpace domain could mean enhanced business for the company which manages such a profile and friendships.

If the domain and profile fall into the wrong hands, say that of a spammer or hater of a specific business, imagine the negative reputation which could result in such a profile, its MySpace bulletins and even the organic search engine results for such a domain (think iHateStarbucks.com for example).

John Boyle of SocialNext.com says that in the past, MySpace did try to take the URL from a user (an indie band) and assign it to a FOX television show, Bones. Doing so backfired on MySpace & FOX’s reputation amongst its user base:

I’m sure Fox learned their lesson when they took away the www.myspace.com/bones url from an indie band in favor of their TV show Bones. Once word leaked users protested with emails and bulletin resulting in MySpace giving the url back to the band.

That was a pretty dumb move on MySpace’s part but it worked out for the band. They received lots of press, got their url back and doubled their friends list to almost 5,000.

Do you think MySpace users should be able to register MySpace URL’s with trademarked company names?

China Architectural Engineering Files IPO

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 2/07/2007 01:28:00 PM
China Architectural Engineering is going public on the American Stock Exchange. They're a blank check company.

China Architectural Engineering Files IPO
02-05-2007 10:09:20 AM

China Architectural Engineering filed a registration statement with the SEC for an initial public offering.

The Company intends to apply for the listing of our common stock on the American Stock Exchange. The Company expects that the public offering price of our common stock will be between $3.00 and $4.00 per share and will issue 300,000 shares.

Revenues were $49 million in 2005 which is just enough to do a deal vs $28 million in 2004, and $22 million in 2003. In the first 9 months of 2006, revenues were $40 million up from $25 million in 2005, net income was $6 million vs $1 million.

The numbers are nice. There is quite a large amount of revenue concentration as they admit in the S-1.
Revenues from Chinese government contracts represented approximately 70 to 80% of our revenues for each of the nine months ended September 30, 2006 and the year ended December 31, 2005. Our inability to win or renew Chinese government contracts could harm our operations and significantly reduce or eliminate our profits.

I would agree.

February 06, 2007

I Have to Hand it Mark Cuban For Calling the YouTube Thing

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 2/06/2007 08:09:00 AM
Mark Cuban got it right about YouTube. While I was right that Google would end up buying YouTube, Mark was also right that YouTube would not have it easy even if they got bought by Google. Mark was famous for saying that it would be moronic for Google to buy YouTube. He's looking smarter everyday. The latest Viacom spat proves Mark right in one area: The content providers aren't going to let YouTube get away without paying royal amounts of royalties and YouTube may end up being another "big waste of money" as Mark puts it - like Broadcast.com! What is it about this space?

Bye Bye Hedge Fund Bubble

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 2/06/2007 08:05:00 AM
Semper Macro is the latest fund the hit the wall.

Macro Fund Cutting Fee, Staff, After '06 Woe
London hedge fund SemperMacro is reducing its performance fee as well as cutting staff in the wake of a poor 2006.

The Wall Street Journal said SemperMaco lost 16% last year. The newspaper went on to report the hedge fund is seeing a lot of outflow.

The underperformance at SemperMacro, a unit of Fulcrum Asset Management, underscored the volatility inherent to global macro strategy, the report surmised.

SemperMacro lost big on the U.S. dollar and Japanese equity last year. When its 18-month lockup expired in December, the hedge fund saw its asset size shrink from $1.5 billion to $500 million in an investor exodus.

The hedge fund is cutting staff, mostly trading personnel, the newspaper said. The number of staff being let go at SemperMacro could not be determined.

In addition, SemperMacro is bringing its performance fee down from 20% to 15%.

Over the past year, the Vega Select hedge fund and Wadhawani Asset Management have also been victimized by the volatile macro space.

SemperMacro was set in 2004 by former Goldman Sachs trader Christian Siva-Jothy and economist Gavyn Davies.

The culprit: misplaced currency bets and international equity investments. Semper apparently means "Always" as in Semper Fi (Always Faithful). Therefore Semper Macro means "Always Macro."

Sometimes it may help not to be too macro.

February 05, 2007

Chongqing Iron: We Love IPO

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 2/05/2007 02:10:00 AM
Not a day goes by without another Chinese IPO. This time, Chongqing Iron is going public.

Chongqing Iron and Steel Co. Ltd. (1053.HK: Quote, Profile , Research) said on Monday it will raise as much as 1.008 billion yuan (US$130 million) in the A share market to fund a cold-rolled strip project to help meet local demand.

The company set an indicative price range for its A-share IPO at 2.80 to 2.88 yuan per share in a 350 million A share initial public offering in Shanghai.

Jump on the band wagon my friends! Read the prospectus here "重庆钢铁股份有限公司首次公开发行股票(A股)招股意向书摘要."

Success Gets to Google's Head

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 2/05/2007 02:08:00 AM
Charlotte Observer writes an article about how Google strong-armed government officials while negotiating to locate its server farm in Caldwell County. Basically, Google dictated the terms of its real estate deal to the county. Hmmm...

Google tried to silence lawmakers and pushed, at times with a heavy hand, to influence legislation designed to bring the company to Caldwell County.

The company demanded that legislators never speak its name, and had them scolded when word of its interest in North Carolina leaked out, according to records made public this week.

As work proceeded on the bill to remove much of its tax burden, Google threatened to end negotiations because legislative staff didn't write exactly what it wanted. State Commerce Secretary Jim Fain was asked to "prevail upon" the bill writer.

Indeed, the first set of state documents released from the 13-month negotiations reveal a company obsessed with secrecy and not above bullying, tactics that helped get it tax breaks that could top $100 million over three decades.

"I sort of had to work in the dark," said Sen. Jim Jacumin, a Republican who represents Caldwell County. "That bothered me. They need to respect the laws of the land, even if they're business."

Success gets to people's heads sometimes!

Industrial Bank IPO +55% on First Day

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 2/05/2007 02:03:00 AM
The Industrial Bank IPO did well up 55% on the first day.

Shares in the Industrial Bank, China's tenth largest commercial bank, opened at 24.8 yuan (3.10 U.S. dollars) on their Monday debut on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The opening price was 55.19 percent higher than its initial public offering (IPO) price of 15.98 yuan, but below market expectations of 30 yuan.

Given the recent weakness in China, I'd say it was a good performance. However, there is no telling how long it will trade at that level. I wrote about Industrial Bank a few days ago and it looks like it has lived up to expectations of bringing in a nice pop. The P/E is quite high for a bank.