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Facebook Rolls Out Online Gift-Giving Service

Sep 28, 2012, 11:41 am EDT
Facebook Rolls Out Online Gift-Giving Service

Back in May, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) acquired Karma, a pioneer in the social gifting space. Now, the company is putting that deal to work. Facebook launched a feature today that allows users to buy gifts for friends. The company is teaming up with 100 merchants, including coffee king Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) and 1-800-Flowers (NASDAQ:FLWS), for the service. There will also be an app for it in the near future.

So far, e-commerce has been incredibly tough on the Facebook platform. After all, users visit the site primarily to hangout and check photos and make comments. If they want to buy stuff, they will instead use Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) or

But Facebook’s gift service may be different. Basically, it is something that is inherently social. What better way to build relationships than to send out a gift for someone’s birthday or some other type of special event? Read 

Is There A Start-Up Funding Freeze?

Sep 27, 2012, 2:22 pm EDT
Is There A Start-Up Funding Freeze?

The IPO market is critical to the U.S. economy: It’s both a way for companies to raise huge amounts of money and a way for early-stage investors to get outsized returns for taking big risks.

Unfortunately, things have been pretty tough lately, especially for Internet and social deals. Just look at the plunges in valuation for companies like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA).

So in light of this, are we starting to see a negative impact on web start-up funding? Well, according to a piece in The Wall Street Journal, it looks like the answer is yes. Read 

Q3 IPOs: Few but Still Notable

Sep 26, 2012, 1:30 pm EDT
Q3 IPOs: Few but Still Notable

The third quarter is generally light for IPOs because of the August doldrums. And this year was no different: Only 23 deals came out. But of course, the implosion of the Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) IPO was another key factor.

Despite all this, there were some bright spots. Just look at Palo Alto Networks (NYSE:PANW), which is a next-generation provider of security solutions. Since coming public in mid-July, the company’s shares are up about 52%.  Palo Alto is certainly growing at a torrid rate, with revenues spiking 88% to $75.6 million in the latest quarter.

The security business has a variety drivers. For example, the surge in new technologies like mobile devices and social networks has created huge demand. At the same time, governments are getting more serious about issuing new regulations to protect consumers. Read 

Michael Kors: What Makes an IPO Work

Sep 25, 2012, 12:55 pm EDT
Michael Kors: What Makes an IPO Work

When talking to many tech CEOs, they’ll often say the IPO market is brutally harsh. Of course, they point to deals like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Pandora (NYSE:P), Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) and Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN).

Despite all this, the real story is something different. If anything, the IPO market is a great place — that is, so long as a company can sustain its growth.

A prime example is Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS), a luxury apparel operator. The company came public in December at $20 and has since gone on to hit nearly $55. Read 

Groupon Buys Restaurant Reservation Service

Sep 25, 2012, 12:31 pm EDT

Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) has been one of the world’s fastest growing companies over the past few years. However, the company has found it difficult to keep up the momentum, especially as the daily-deals business shows signs of maturity.

To find more growth, Groupon is moving into new categories; for instance, last week the company announced a mobile payments system for merchants.

But this might just be the start. This week, Groupon announced a deal to acquire Savored, which allows people to use the Internet and mobile devices to make restaurant reservations. Savored also offers significant discounts to consumers. Read 

Santander Mexico to Lead This Week’s IPOs

Sep 24, 2012, 10:47 am EDT
Santander Mexico to Lead This Week’s IPOs

Last week was the restart of the IPO market. But of the five deals that came out, only two were able to muster strong gains. Trulia (NYSE:TRLA) returned 36% and Susser Petroleum Partners (NYSE:SUSP) was up 13%.

As for the coming week, it looks like the activity will remain flat. Four deals are expected to hit the market, yet only one is likely to get much attention: Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico.

The firm, which is the second-largest bank in Mexico, plans to issue 235.1 million shares at a range of $10.99 to $12.70. The underwriters include Santander, UBS Investment Bank (NYSE:UBS), Deutsche Bank Securities (NYSE:DB) and BofA Merril Lynch (NYSE:BAC). The company plans to list on the NYSE under the symbol BSMX. Read 

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