June 30--Today: Twitter acquires ad-tech company for a reported $100 million and launches the ability to advertise mobile apps as the San Francisco company continues to bolster its revenue-generating options. Also: Wall Street ends first half with overall gains.
The Lead: Twitter makes an advertising acquisition, launches mobile-app ads
In its continuing quest to prove to investors that it will be an advertising powerhouse, Twitter announced Monday that it had acquired an ad-tech startup and launched the ability to more powerfully promote mobile applications on its service.
The San Francisco social-networking company confirmed the acquisition of TapCommerce, a New York startup that focuses on "retargeting" -- contacting customers who have expressed an interest in purchasing something online in an attempt to close the deal.
"Advertisers spend aggressively to get new users, but re-activating existing or previous users can provide just as attractive a return on investment," Twitter's vice president of global online sales, Richard Alfonsi, said in the company's blog post on the acquisition.
Twitter did not release a purchase price for the acquisition, though Recode reported the deal was for about $100 million in breaking the news before it was announced, and Bloomberg News later reported the same figure; both reports cited an anonymous source. That purchase price is larger than most Twitter acquisitions, which typically focus on acquiring engineering talent or specific functions, but pales in comparison to the $350 million purchase of ad-tech company MoPub, Twitter's largest acquisition to date and the core of its advertising offering.
"It's another step in this bigger vision we've started to put together about mobile advertising," Alfonsi told Bloomberg in an interview on the subject.
Earlier in the day, Twitter announced another aspect of its vision with the official rollout of ads that allow users to install mobile applications, an advertising concept that proved profitable for Facebook and could leverage Twitter's large audience of mobile users. Twitter began testing ads that allow users to instantly begin installing a mobile app in April, and companies such as ride-sharing app Lyft and video-game giant Electronic Arts praised the offering in Twitter's blog post on the official rollout Monday.
"We were able to drive a significant number of installs for our suite of casual and core games," Uyen Uyen Ton Nu, senior manager for social acquisition at Redwood City-based EA, said in the blog post.
Twitter sold shares at $26 apiece in a 2013 initial public offering and shot higher in the first few months of the stock's availability, but slowing user growth has hurt the company's market capitalization of late. Shares gained 0.1 percent to $40.97 Monday, and increased 26.3 percent in the month of June, but that price is still 45 percent lower than Twitter's all-time intraday high of $74.73.
SV150 market report: Wall Street ends first half with overall gains
The first half of 2014 ended for Wall Street on Monday afternoon, with the day's session not providing much action to add to solid overall gains for the Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq through the first six months of the year.
Google declined slightly Monday, falling 0.2 percent to $584.67, while getting rejected by the Supreme Court and closing down an early attempt at social-networking. The U.S. high court refused to hear the Mountain View Internet giant's appeal of a ruling that found it at odds with federal wiretapping laws in collecting information about Wi-Fi systems during the course of its Street View mapping program. Ten years after launching its first foray into social networking, Google announced Monday that it would shut down the offering, dubbed Orkut, to focus on newer attempts to challenge Facebook and Twitter, namely the three-year-old Google+. Google Glass received another ban, from movie theaters in Britain, but seems to be winning fans in sports arenas with its ability to provide a new view of the action.
Facebook dropped 0.5 percent to $67.29 after an uproar from some users unhappy with the Menlo Park social network unwittingly using them in a social experiment; even if unhappy, users still seem to be relying on the social network to chat about the World Cup, however, with interactions on the service involving the soccer tournament hitting a record, just as they have for rival Twitter. Yahoo jumped 2.6 percent to $35.13 after an upgrade from Piper Jaffray on optimism about its stake in Alibaba, and the Sunnyvale company locked up a Netflix-style deal to revive TV cult hit "Community" for a sixth season. Apple gained 1 percent to $92.93 while fighting a patent-infringement claim in a San Jose court, and Symantec advanced 0.6 percent to $22.90 after detailing an online attack against U.S. energy companies and pipelines. Oracle held steady at $40.53 while reportedly planning a $10 billion bond sale to finance its acquisition of Micros Systems, and rival Salesforce gained 1.2 percent to $58.08 while picking up a new chief financial officer from Autodesk.
Up: Palo Alto Networks, NetApp, LinkedIn, Yahoo, AMD, SanDisk, Splunk, Salesforce, Workday, Apple, Nvidia, Pandora, Applied Materials, Cisco, Symantec, Adobe, Tesla
Down: Intuit, Yelp, Hewlett-Packard, Zynga, Facebook, SolarCity, Netflix, VMware, SunPower, Google
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up 6.22, or 0.41 percent to 1,513.91
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 10.25, or 0.23 percent, to 4,408.18
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 25.24, or 0.15 percent, to 16,826.6
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 0.73, or 0.04 percent, to 1,960.23
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