What a month September was! Sprinklr picked up a hefty valuation, Socialbakers was sold, and PRNEWS.IO is set for a bond issue. Meanwhile, Cision is in the midst of a change, Edelman launched a new comms tech, and Hootsuite cancelled a contract. Meanwhile, Australian regulators are looking at how digital platforms should pay for news content (and Google and Facebook are not pleased).
Sprinklr valued at $US 2.7 billion in latest funding round
Sprinklr, the New York-based social engagement platform, has raised $US 200 million from private equity firm Hellman & Friedman in a Series G round. The round values the company at $US 2.7 billion. Hellman also bought $300 million in secondary shares of Sprinklr in addition to its primary investment. Sprinklr raised an additional $150 million in convertible-at-IPO debt from investment firm Sixth Street Partners. Sprinklr is expected to launch its IPO within the next 12 to 18 months.
Socialbakers acquired by Astute
Czech social media marketing platform, Socialbakers, has been acquired by Astute for an undisclosed sum. Astute is a customer engagement and voice of the customer platform based in Ohio, USA. It is expected that the entire Socialbakers team will be retained, resulting in a combined organisation with more than 600 employees and $US 100 million in annual recurring revenue. Speaking of the acquisition Astute’s CEO, Mark Zablan, commented: “the lines between customer care, customer experience, and marketing have become increasingly blurred”. Very true.
PRNEWS.IO to launch a bond issue
PRNEWS.IO, an Estonian native content distribution platform designed for public relations, is set to raise €2 million via a bond issue. The bonds are expected to yield 12 per cent per annum, with a 24 month buy back period that’s likely to finish in September 2022. The funds will be used to grow the business globally.
New CEO at Cision, and big changes rumoured
Cision has a newly appointed CEO. Abel Clark has joined the company, taking the place of interim chief executive Brandon Crawley. Clark joins fast on the heels of the appointment of a new CFO, COO and CMO at the company. Meanwhile, Business Insider has issued two reports on rumoured changes at Cision. First up, it reported that Cision may be planning to purchase Meltwater, a move that has prompted interest from US Justice Department. Business Insider also reported on a leaked pitch deck that suggested Cision was planning on selling Trendkite, a business it purchased for $US225 million just last year.
Edelman launches comms tech offering
Edelman has launched Edelman CommsTech Solutions in the US. The newly formed division will combine tools, data and analytics to provide “actionable intelligence for communicators to precisely target, measure and shape trust and behavior at the individual level”. The team is already 50-strong, with a mix of client advisors, data scientists, analysts, technologists and developers. Edelman has really leant into technology and analytics over recent years, and it’ll be interesting to see how they develop this solution.
Hootsuite backs out of government contract
Hootsuite has cancelled a three year, $CAD 1.5 million contract with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency following “internal uproar” at Hootsuite offices. Sam Anderson, a product trainer at Hootsuite, took to Twitter to outline extraordinary levels of employee dissatisfaction. In addition, a petition was launched on Canada’s leadnow.ca. This month, Hootsuite also teamed up with Altimeter Group to release a report on social transformation. The report surveyed 2,162 marketers on how they use social. Ironically, perhaps, the report strongly recommends employee advocacy on social and that Hootsuite customers tend to perform better than the average.
News publishers flex their muscle in Australia
Australian government regulators have published draft laws that will address how digital platforms use content from Australian news media businesses. September saw the digital platforms respond to the proposed News Media Bargaining Code. Facebook has threatened to stop users in Australia from sharing news content on its platform. Google, meanwhile, has described the code as “highly unusual” and unfair. Peter Costello, Nine Entertainment Chairman (and former Australian Treasurer), has threatened to pull its $AUD 1 billion investment in content if Facebook and Google fail to pay up for the use of the content and stated that Facebook cannot be trusted. Meanwhile, Australian news publishers are looking at striking direct licensing deals with media monitoring companies, effectively side-stepping the local licensing body, the Copyright Agency. Publishers are hoping that direct licensing will generate greater revenue.
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