Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This week's quest to find budding Rule Breakers reveals a plan that could help save the newspaper business, more evidence that mobile content is on the move, and a look at valuing the newly public shares of Jamba Juice.
First up is uSwitch, a U.K.-based website that offers comparison shopping for home services, such as phone and energy. VentureWire reports that newspaper giant E.W. Scripps (NYSE: SSP ) has agreed to pay $366 million for the start-up. The reasoning seems related to Scripps' $525 million purchase of Shopzilla last year. The company is preparing an interactive media division that will combine the sites. Users would search for better deals with Shopzilla, then buy the best deals using uSwitch.
This combination makes sense to me for two reasons. First, I'm permanently paranoid that I'm getting bilked when it comes to common household services. Second, other newspapers have turned to digital properties to boost their otherwise flagging fortunes. Witness Dow Jones (NYSE: DJ ) and The Wall Street Journal's online edition. Or New York Times (NYSE: NYT ) and its purchase of About.com. Or Knight Ridder's (NYSE: KRI ) budding online empire, built primarily around job site CareerBuilder. All of them have helped the newspapers tread water, even if drowning remains a distinct possibility.
Next up is m-Qube, which VentureWire says VeriSign (Nasdaq: VRSN ) will buy for $250 million. The deal comes a week after the firm acquired digital media distributor Kontiki for $62 million. That makes sense: m-Qube has been a middleman between large media providers such as CBS (NYSE: CBS ) and Viacom and mobile users. Its platform helps them get access to content and process payments. Kontiki, on the other hand, speeds the delivery of rich media over the Web, in a fashion somewhat similar to that of Akamai. Together, the two remind me of merchants combining to sell picks and shovels to prospectors panning for gold. Or, to modernize the analogy, software and services for cell-phone makers, content providers, and others with designs on making iTunes-sized fortunes from the mobile content wellspring. Nice move, VeriSign.
Finally, I want to touch briefly on last week's report. Therein I mentioned the interesting possibilities that may arise from Services Acquisition (AMEX: SVI ) purchasing JambaJuice, effectively making the health drink purveyor a public company. Well, Fool researcher Andy Cross has one-upped me. He has posted a well-constructed analysis and valuation of the combined firm. If you've thought for even a second about putting money into this deal, you owe it to yourself to give Andy's take a read. You won't be disappointed.
Sadly, there were no Baby Breaker public offerings this week, which means it's time to say goodbye. See you back here next Friday, when we continue the quest to find the next ultimate growth stock.
For more Rule Breaking Foolishness:
- Check in with last week's infants.
- Do you still believe in satellite radio?
- Pretty stocks are sometimes found in ugly places.
Netflix.Marvel. AOL. Starbucks. Find out how David Gardner landed these and other multibaggers by taking a test drive of Motley Fool Rule Breakers today. You'll also learn why our analysts are smashing the market by more than 20% as of this writing. All you have to lose is the prospect of better returns.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers enjoys the occasional Jamba Juice. But he enjoyed Andy's analysis more. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.