Freelancer.com’s $US400 million takeover offer from Japanese recruitment company Recruit Co has attracted plenty of attention. It’s a hefty chunk of money for a company that grew out of chief executive Matt Barrie’s garage. If the $US400 million offer for the global online outsourcing platform is accepted, it’s likely to be one of the biggest technology company deals done in Australia this year. Here are some of the top technology deals in Australia in the past 12 months whose dollar value has been reported, from data compiled by Charles Lindop of KTM Capital: 1. M2 Telecommunications and Dodo Australia, Eftel In March this year M2 Telecommunications bought phone and internet provider Dodo Australia and telecommunications infrastructure company Eftel for $248 million. M2 said in a statement at the time Dodo and Eftel were highly complementary to its “sizeable” consumer division. “The acquisitions are an excellent complement to our consumer division and combined, our business possesses an excellent capability to grow our share of both the consumer and small to medium business market,” M2 chief executive Geoff Horth said. 2. Corporation Service Company and Melbourne IT Melbourne IT sold its Digital Brand Services division to US-based Corporation Service Company for $152.5 million in March. DBS provides online brand protection and consultancy services to global organisations. “While this was not a business that we had specifically earmarked for sale, given the value creation provided by the transaction, this was an opportunity which could not be ignored,” Melbourne IT chief executive Theo Hnarakis said in a statement. 3. William Hill and tomwaterhouse.com UK betting giant William Hill took a punt on bookmaker Tom Waterhouse’s online business last month in a deal that could be worth up to $104 million. Under the deal, William Hill paid $34 million up front, and a potential further $70 million if certain earnings targets are met. “International expansion is a key part of William Hill’s growth strategy and making Australia our second home is our priority,” William Hill chief executive Ralph Topping said in a statement. 4. iiNet and Adam Internet Internet provider iiNet offered to buy South Australia-based Adam Internet for $60 million in August. Telstra had tried to buy Adam but was thwarted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. “We believe that this transaction provides real benefit to Adam Internet’s customers and staff as it aligns them with iiNet, Australia’s leading ISP in customer service,” Adam’s chief executive Greg Hicks said. 5. Webjet and Zuji Travel booking website Webjet snapped up fellow online travel agency Zuji for $25 million in December last year. Webjet managing director John Guscic told SmartCompany the deal represented a unique opportunity to substantially expand Webjet's marketing footprint, particularly in Asia. “We've known Zuji since its inception and we know they’ve built out a very attractive business in Asia and we have a desire to expand into the Asian markets and Zuji has given us the platform to achieve that,” he said. 6. SMS Management & Technology and Indicium In July SMS Management & Technology bought IT infrastructure and managed services company Indicium for $22 million. SMS CEO Tom Stianos said in a statement at the time: “The acquisition of Indicium supports our growing Managed Services and Infrastructure Consulting capability, and meets our strategic imperative to increase our annuity revenue. This is a high growth segment of the market and Indicium will accelerate SMS’ offer of managed services in the cloud market.” 7. Woolworths and Quantium The supermarket giant took a 50% stake in Quantium, Australia’s leading data consultancy, for a reported $20 million in May. Quantium said in a statement it would provide a “wide range of data, analytical, media and software services to Woolworths as well as help deliver customer insights to Woolworths’ suppliers”. And where would the Freelancer.com deal rank among deals in the world? Pretty highly according to data compiled by Australian investment firm Right Click Capital. While it’s nowhere near the $US130 billion deal Verizon Communications has made to buy Vodafone’s 45% of Verizon Wireless this month, or Microsoft’s $US7.2 billion takeover of Nokia, it’s not far off the €360 million ($US477 million) paid by French payment solutions provider Ingenico for online payment provider Ogone in January.
As Australians spend more of their money online, where and when they’re spending is becoming relevant for retailers considering how to target their marketing. According to the National Australia Bank’s latest Online Retail Sales Index, Australians spent $13.9 billion in the year ended June, up 21% on the 12 months ended June last year when $11.5 billion was spent. And according to research by data analytics and marketing strategy firm Quantium, much of that spending is happening in the middle of the week, with Wednesday the peak day for spending. National Online Retailers Association chief executive Paul Greenberg says the data could have implications for retailers and the timing of their digital marketing. He says retailers may take a “fish when the fish are biting” approach to their marketing. Quantium’s research shows Saturday and Sunday are the weakest days for online retail spending. Sales rise on Monday and Tuesday, peak on Wednesday at just over 16% of online spending, before tapering off Thursday and Friday. Greenberg adds that retailers may also consider targeting their marketing towards days when online spending falls in the hope of boosting it so they can “smooth out” sales across the week. Greenberg and Adam Ferrier, a consumer psychologist and founding partner of Naked Communications Australia, told StartupSmart higher spending online during the week was most likely because it was when consumers were mostly likely at work and in front of a computer. Ferrier says consumers could also be motivated to shop during the middle of the week as a break from work. “These days at work are normally more intense,” he says. “Potentially people are looking for a bit of retail therapy.” Ferrier adds that the research may redefine when impulse shopping may occur. “It might be during those times in the afternoon on ‘hump’ day when you need a break or are hungry for a distraction,” he says. Ferrier also says Friday may be a more “frivolous and fun” time at work in the lead-up to the weekend and leave workers less inclined to want to shop online. Greenberg suggests weekends are generally weaker for online retail because people are out and about with their families. Online shoe fashion retailer Shoes of Prey has found Wednesday is their best day for sales, with co-founder Jodie Fox telling StartupSmart they received around 20% more sales that day than the rest of the week. “I’m genuinely surprised,” she says, adding that it went against her own experience of not having a particular day when she did her own online shopping. Fox says while Wednesday may be their biggest sales day, they don’t target their marketing to a particular day. “When we want to share a message with our customers we look at what’s the best way to communicate that message, then the channel – whether email, video, Facebook – then we use that particular channel to its best advantage,” she says. Retail consultant Franz Madlener was sceptical of the Quantium research that Wednesday was the day consumers spent the most online. “Customers buy when they have money,” he says. “Most customers don’t have money on Wednesdays because most people don’t get paid on Tuesdays. It simply doesn’t make sense then that most people would shop online on Wednesdays unless there were extenuating circumstances such as Groupon having their best deals on a Wednesday, or Jetstar their best flight prices on a Wednesday, particularly if customers have never otherwise spent on Wednesdays compared to late week or weekends.”
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