RizWords – Daily Politics and Tech
Episode 53 – download link coming soon: check the feed for details: subscribe now

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A bunch of new startup acquisition news. We talk a bit about the acquisitions specifically, and then a bit in general about the prevalence in the news lately of all the startups getting bought:

Look For Confirmation of eBay/StumbleUpon Today
I’m hearing that the eBay/StumbleUpon acquisition will be officially announced sometime today. Keep an eye our for the press release. We originally broke this rumor in April when a term sheet was reportedly signed. The Wall Street Journal picked up the story earlier this month.

I don’t know if the price will be disclosed, or if the rumors of $75 million are roughly correct.

An Old Media company actually gets it right with a new media acquisition:

CBS Acquires Europe’s Last.fm for $280 million
The quickly growing music social network Last.fm has been acquired by CBS for $280 million in an all-cash deal.

UK based Last.fm launched five years ago and has become a social networking favorite with 15 million active users. It has become a massive repository for music information (artist and song wikis, listening data from users, etc.). In the U.S., companies like Pandora, MOG and iLike all compete with some of Last.fm’s features, although none of those startups has built the basic social network/community of last.fm.

The deal sees Last.fm’s management team staying in place and the site maintaining a separate identity.

Last.fm has been an attractive takeover target for some time. CBS as a buyer though is surprising and is a sure sign that the media giant is getting serious about Web 2.0. CBS acquired video blog WallStrip for $5 million earlier this month, and has been on a bit of a buying spree lately after filling out the management team on the interactive side of the business last year.

Previous TechCrunch coverage here.

This certainly explains why Last.fm was a little slow to jump on the Facebook Applications bandwagon last week – they were understandably distracted.

An interesting perspective on the same story:

Don’t Look Now, But Old Media May Be Figuring This New Media Thing Out
It’s not much, but there are a few signs that some “old media” companies are starting to figure out what makes new media tick. This morning’s announcement that CBS is buying last.fm for $280 million isn’t all that interesting on its own — but it’s one of a pattern of recent deals by so-called “old media” companies that have them looking to build or buy into communities, rather than just content. The mistake that many media companies have made over the last few years is the belief that the content was king — and as long as they had the content, the community would form naturally. What people are noticing is that the community is important and it’s hard work to build one. Of course, recognizing that is only the first step. The real question is what these companies will do to cultivate these communities. In most cases (MySpace being the one exception so far), these types of purchases tend to wither and die once they become part of a larger company (and the entrepreneurial souls of the community move on).

And other startup news:

Google buys anti-malware browser virtualization startup (Ryan Naraine/Zero Day)
Google has quietly made its first anti-malware acquisition, snapping up GreenBorder Technologies, a venture-backed company that sells browser virtualization security software.

And in political news, both Art and I are surprised we didn’t hear about this earlier:

Cyber-Spies Tracking Terror on Web
Dana Rosenblatt writes on CNN.com:

There is an unconventional war being waged on the Internet. The battles here know no boundaries; and are fought from homes and offices from small Midwestern towns to Europe and the Middle East.

For the fighters in these battles weapons usually consist of no more than collected intelligence and computer programming skills.

It’s no secret anymore that active terrorist cells are currently operating freely and openly on the Internet, using propaganda tactics to illicit prospective recruits.

The emergence of these terrorist groups has spawned their nemesis: groups of researchers, hackers, and maverick computer geeks who cyber-stalk terrorist networks online and take them down.

More here.

Resembling a modern-day Clark Kent, Weisburd is a boyish 40-something former computer programmer who decided to use his background and skills to track terrorists following the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

He’s proved himself a force to be reckoned with, fighting — and winning — a war waged against the “dark side” of the Internet.

Weisburd’s reputation has earned him the nickname “the vigilante” in cyber space, a legacy he’s eager to shrug off.

“If I was a vigilante running a Web site, I would hurt you,” says Weisburd.

“If I find that you’re running a Web site for al Qaeda, I’m not going to hurt you. I’ll report you to people that will ask you to come quietly, and if you don’t go quietly, they may hurt you,” he says.

Art jumps for joy:

Fred Thompson to Form Presidential Committee

“Law and Order” star Fred Thompson — will make his flirtation with a White — House bid official this week, forming — a presidential committee and launching — a fundraising effort

His advisers say they do not expect to match the amount of money the others are raising, but profess to be unconcerned.

“He doesn’t need as much money as the others have raised,” said one supporter, noting that his Hollywood fame has already given him a boost in the polls. “He hasn’t raised nor has he spent a single dime so far. People should not expect that he will outraise anyone.”

We find a Democrat we like:

Lieberman in Iraq sees “progress,”
What a coincidence. Two years after Cheney said the insurgency was in its last throes, Joe Lieberman made essentially the same prediction.

CNN reports that Lieberman is on an unannounced “surprise” visit to Baghdad. Paula Hancocks followed Lieberman around. She talked to Lieberman and reported, “He said he was happy with the progress. He was devastated by the fact that May was turning in to the deadliest month since November 2004. But he said he did believe that this surge eventually would pay off and it would start to break the insurgency.”

And in people turning on the Democrats news:

Cindy Sheehan Quits as ‘Face’ of Anti-War Movement
Cindy Sheehan, the “peace mom” who made headlines in 2005 by staging a marathon protest outside President Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch, said Monday that she no longer wants to be seen as a leader of the anti-war movement.

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