Today in Philly Tech History 3/28/2011: eBay announces it will acquire GSI Commerce for $2.4 billion

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On March 28, 2012, eBay announced it would acquire King of Prussia-based ecommerce company GSI Commerce for $2.4 billion, or $29.25 per share.

As part of the deal, eBay agreed to spin off 100% of GSI Commerce's sports licensing business and 70% of flash sales site Rue La La and delivery service ShopRunner, into a newly formed holding company to be led by GSI Commerce founder and CEO Michael Rubin, later to be named Kynetic LLC and based in Conshohocken. eBay also agreed to loan Rubin's new company $467 million.

In an interesting move, First Round Capital's Josh Kopelman, a former eBay executive for a period after it acquired his company, joined GSI Commerce's board less than two months before the deal was announced.

At eBay's analyst day this past week, the company indicated its expectation for GSI Commerce was for its revenue to grow at about a 14% annual rate to between $1.5 and $1.7 billion in 2015, with a direct segment profit margin of 16 to 18%.


Today in Philly Tech History March 28, 2005: Wayne-based SunGard Data Systems agrees to $11.3 billion LBO

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On March 28, 2005, Wayne-based SunGard Data Systems agreed to be taken private in an $11.3 billion leveraged buyout, the second largest of all time at that point. The deal, organized by Silver Lake Partners (Michael Dell's partner in the proposed Dell buyout currently under consideration), included a consortium of seven companies, including Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Providence Equity Partners and Texas Pacific Group in addition to Silver Lake.

Although LBOs are often done on the basis of cash flow, rather than growth prospects, SunGard's growth since going private has likely been a disappointment to its investors. Each of its principal business segments saw flattening growth; SunGard Financial Systems was negatively impacted by the problems in the financial sector the past few years. SunGard Higher Ed, which also saw diminished growth, was sold in 2011 for $1.775 billion and merged with competitor Datatel. The combined company was renamed Ellucian. Plans to take SunGard Availability Services public have surfaced periodically but never progressed. Its business has not been growing despite areas of potential as a cloud computing provider.

The SunGard LBO was among the deals included in a lawsuit filed last year alleging that major PE firms conspired with each other to hold down bidding competition on target companies.


Phorum Philly '13 Highlights: PeopleLinx wins "Best in Show"; Philly Enterprise Hackathon 2013 announced

Tom Paine

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The second annual Phorum Philly conference, held at World Cafe Live on March 21, focused this year on "harnessing disruptive technologies", specifically social, mobile and big data.

I was eagerly awaiting to hear what Gus Hunt, CTO of the Central Intelligence Agency, would say addressing Phorum on the topic of managing big data. In particular, it might have been timely for him to say something regarding reports that the CIA had reached a ground-breaking (for both parties) agreement with Amazon Web Services for AWS to provide private cloud services to the necessarily security-obsessed CIA. It was first reported by Federal Computer Weekly at the beginning of last week to be an arrangement worth up to $600 million to AWS over 10 years.

Unfortunately, in typical CIA fashion, Hunt was called away by a last minute emergency.'s VP and Head of Platform Research, Peter Coffee, who had given the opening address to the conference in the morning, by all accounts did a fantastic job filling in for Hunt on big data, demonstrating how versatile he is.

But on the previous day, Hunt did address the issue of big data at GigaOM’s Structure Data event, where Gigaom said he responded to a question about the Amazon connection by saying said he could not comment now but “maybe someday.” Hunt also said in his Structure address, "we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever."

The Demo Pit at Phorum 13 was filled with a strong group of locally based ventures. PeopleLinx, the Philadelphia-based startup which builds applications that help companies better utilize LinkedIn and earlier last week announced it had received $3.2 million in funding from Osage Venture Partners, Greycroft Partners and MissionOG, was voted "Best in Show" by attendees, besting fellow finalists Curalate and iMomentous, with the award being presented by Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-PA 13). PeopleLinx' Bill Conn described the Phorum experience for the company on the PeopleLinx Blog.
MissionOG is an interesting new locally-based fund focused on BtoB, technology-oriented startups that has also invested in CloudMine and Cloudamize.

Another Demo Pit participant, Philadelphia-based enterprise app and collaboration platform WizeHive, announced during the week that it had received additional seed funding from investors including Gabriel Investments and Goldin Ventures. WizeHive also announced that DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg had joined its board.

Also at Phorum, the Philly Enterprise Hackathon 2013 was announced, sponsored by PACT and several Philly area companies. The Hackathon, which will offer prizes valued at $100,000 and incubation opportunities, will run from April 2 through April 19.


Daily Links 3/29/2013: Fisker preparing for possibe bankruptcy filing?; Dell filing details declining fortunes

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Christie touts missile defense contract with Lockheed Martin in Moorestown (

Fisker hires law firm to prepare possible bankruptcy filing -WSJ

Dell’s Go Private Case Emerged as Business Eroded (All Things D)

Oracle Flim-Flam Alakazams Missed 3Q Earnings (ReadWriteEnterprise)

The First Ever Honest Cable Company Ad (Mashable)

In march towards IPO, Salesforce rival SugarCRM snags another $15.1M (VentureBeat)