Centro Buys GraphScience; Amazon Web Services Grows

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Centro Buys Social

Centro snapped up GraphScience for an undisclosed sum in a bid to extend its ad buying hooks to Facebook and other social platforms. Ten employees come with the bargain, and Centro says it will hire more to further build out GraphScience’s social ad capabilities. Read the blog post. Centro says it will manage $400 million in advertiser spend this year.

Amazon FTW

Amazon turned in a boffo Q2, led by explosive growth in its Amazon Web Services cloud computing and data storage division. Amazon’s “other” segment, which houses its ad biz along with credit card services, grew about 10% to $235 million – up from $213 million a year ago. All of that growth was in North America; in fact, international “other” revenues shrank slightly. Amazon’s stock price spiked dramatically, giving Amazon a higher valuation than Walmart. Earnings release.

Publicis Rough Patch

In its own Q2 report, French agency group Publicis said revenue grew 39% to $2.7 billion, but the vast majority of growth came from SapientNitro and other acquisitions. Organic growth was a meager 1%. Chief Executive Maurice Lévy said, “Publicis had a patchy year. … And I’m putting this in charitable terms.” Managerial teams at Publicis have reduced in size since the fall of 2013, he explained, creating a scarcity of talent. On the upside, “Digital activities accounted for over half our revenue in this first half-year, as did our operations in America.” Read the release (PDF).

FT Gets A New Owner

Japanese publisher Nikkei will acquire the Financial Times from UK publishing group Pearson for $1.3 billion. The Financial Times reports that Nikkei submitted an 11th-hour offer, outbidding rival bidder Axel Springer of Germany. “We’ve reached an inflection point in media, driven by the explosive growth of mobile and social,” said FT Chief Executive John Fallon. “In this new environment, the best way to ensure the FT’s journalistic and commercial success is for it to be part of a global, digital news company.” Read more.


Booking It

Move fast, scale quickly and drive better UX – those are TripAdvisor’s top three near-term goals, said CEO Steve Kaufer, speaking on the travel site’s Q2 2015 earnings call. TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking product – which allows visitors to book hotels without leaving TRIP’s O&O – will be a big part of the engine behind that hoped-for growth. Marriott, Hyatt and several other large hotel chains are signed on to enable Instant Booking. Click-based revenue was responsible for 66% of revenue, down from 73% in Q2 2014, a decrease blamed on foreign exchange rates. Display-based revenue increased 8% to $40 million. Total revenue grew 25% for the quarter to $405 million.

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