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BlackRock Offers to Buy Twitter Stock (The Wall Street Journal)
Investment management giant BlackRock has offered to buy around $80 million of Twitter stock in a transaction that would value the short-messaging service at more than $9 billion, according to people familiar with the deal. Some of the people said BlackRock’s offer is to purchase Twitter stock from some of the company’s early employees, and perhaps from others. The Next Web Blackrock is a multinational investment management corporation known to be the “the world’s largest asset manager.” Twitter has raised a total of $1.16 billion in funding, most recently bringing in $400 million in September 2011. The Financial Times The increase in Twitter’s valuation comes during a tumultuous period for Silicon Valley. Apple has lost more than a third of its value in four months – $66 billion since Wednesday’s results – and Intel and Microsoft are struggling to adapt as smartphones and tablets eclipse PCs. CNET On Friday, New York analyst firm Greencrest Capital predicted a 2014 IPO for Twitter and valued the company at between $10.5 billion and $11 billion “by late 2013 or early 2014.” If the Twitter-BlackRock deal is fully realized, BlackRock would own a little less than 1 percent of the social network. VentureBeat If BlackRock deal does go through as FT’s report indicates, it could be a win-win situation. As TheNextWeb points out, early investors would be able to cash out, while Twitter would have a better chance of delaying an IPO until it’s ready.
Square Exec Accused of Harassing a Male Employee Was Involved in Homophobic Incident (SocialTimes)
Keith Rabois, who resigned as COO of Square last week, said that his resignation stemmed from a lawsuit alleging that he had sexually harassed a male employee at Square, the successful payments processing startup led by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Two decades ago, when Rabois was a law student at Stanford, he faced potential disciplinary charges for calling a lecturer a “faggot,” according to a Stanford press release at the time. The Huffington Post In a post on Tumblr, Rabois said that several years ago he began a relationship with a man he met through a mutual friend. After dating for a few months, Rabois wrote, he encouraged the man to apply for a job at Square, where, after going through the regular interview process, he was hired. Rabois said that last week, he and the company were threatened with a lawsuit that said the relationship wasn’t consensual and “that only a payment of millions of dollars will make this go away, and that my career, my reputation, and my livelihood will be threatened if Square and I don’t pay up.” San Jose Mercury News In a statement, a Square spokesman said that while an internal investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing, Rabois had “exercised poor judgment” that undermined his ability to lead the San Francisco-based company. Rabois joined Square as chief operating officer in 2010 and helped oversee its growth from about 30 employees to more than 400.
Twitter is Finally Preparing to Release its Advertising API in Q1, Say Sources (TechCrunch) People have speculated that 2013 will be the year that Twitter will reach $1 billion in advertising revenues. That strategy could get a boost very soon with the entry of mass-market advertising: Twitter is finally gearing up to launch its advertising API some time in Q1.
Social Media Stock Tracker: Google and Netflix Delight Investors (SocialTimes)
The social media sector performed well last week with an average weekly gain of 2 percent as GOOG’s Q4/12 earnings drove the company up 7 percent, showing marginal CPC improvement, which have been under pressure in the last year due to the continued user shift from desktop to mobile. Pandora’s stock also rebounded strongly, though this was not based on any fundamental news, but rather it is likely on speculation of improved mobile ad performance flimsily based on GOOG’s results.
Yahoo Mail is Kicking Serious Butt … in Iran (Infographic) (VentureBeat)
While Yahoo Mail may not be the most popular email service in the world, it is widely preferred to all other services in Iran, according to a new study by Conovi. Iran is an especially interesting place to look at digital trends, considering the country actively blocks its citizens from sites it doesn’t agree with.
Facebook Responds to Platform Controversy Around Apps Voxer, Wonder, Vine (AllFacebook)
In recent days, Facebook has been cutting off data access to applications that have been using it in ways that either compete with or replicate what the social network does — first with Voxer, then Wonder, and most recently Vine. Facebook director of platform partnerships and operations Justin Osofsky clarified his company’s stance with regard to sharing data.
Vine Quietly Adds Verified Badges for High-Profile Users (Mashable/The Daily Dot)
In related news, it appears that Vine is playing around with ways to verify accounts. Rus Yusupov, Vine’s cofounder and creative director, has a Twitter-verified badge-style stamp on his profile. Adding verified badges would certainly help cut out the fakers and help Vine foster a greater sense of trust between its users and the app itself.
Internet is Essential to Life, According to Latest German Court Ruling (AppNewser)
A German court has ruled that an Internet provider must compensate a customer after failing to provide Internet service from December 2008 to February 2009. The court believes that cellular phones are more common and therefore not “essential.”
Twitter Hacker Takes on Embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez (Politicker.com)
Assemblyman Vito Lopez has a new problem on his hands to go along with the ethics committee that is investigating him for sexual harassment complaints filed by four female former staffers. Some time Friday a hacker gained control of Lopez’s Twitter account and began posting a series of messages insulting the embattled politician and praising one of his rivals.