Exit watch, week of Nov. 30, 2009

Google continues shopping spree, buys Teracent

A couple of weeks after Internet search giant Google acquired AdMob for $750 million, the company continued its online advertising shopping spree.

Last week, Google purchased Teracent, a 3-year-old startup with technology that automatically customizes display ads depending on what region they’re shown in.

VC-backed Teracent had raised nearly $7 million in funding, according to Thomson Reuters (publisher of PE Week). About $5 million of that was from a Series A round of funding from New Enterprise Associates in March 2007.

Neither NEA’s Krishna “Kittu” Kolluri nor Peter Sonsini, who sit on Teracent’s board, were available for comment, and Google is not disclosing the terms of the acquisition or many details.

In September, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Reuters that the worst of the recession is behind the company, and he expects the company to start doing about one acquisition a month.

The news was seen as a positive light for VC-backed startups. Not only is Google’s acquisition pace seen as a barometer of M&A activity, but startups haven’t felt any love from Google since 2006, when the Internet search giant bought three VC-backed companies, including YouTube.

“My estimate would be one-a-month acquisitions and these are largely in lieu of hiring,” Schmidt said. “There may be larger acquisitions, but they really are unpredictable.”

So far, Google has acquired five companies in 2009—reCaptcha, On2, Gizmo5, AdMob and Teracent—following a relative dry spell in 2008 in which it bought only two companies.

AmEx acquires Revolution Money for $300M

American Express Co.

has agreed to acquire Revolution Money, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based provider of secure payments through an Internet-based platform. The deal is worth about $300 million. Revolution Money, which was launched in 2005 by Internet AOL founder Steve Case, had raised about $100 million from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank.

Adknowledge scoops up SocialMedia assets

Adknowledge, a Kansas City-based provider of behavioral online advertising solutions, has acquired the primary assets of SocialMedia Networks, a San Francisco-based provider of a social media ad platform. No financial terms were disclosed. SocialMedia Networks had raised VC funding from Charles River Ventures, IDG Ventures SF and individual investors Marc Andreessen and Jeff Clavier. Adknowledge is also venture-backed, having raised $48 million in funding in 2006 from Technology Crossover Ventures.

Asterand buys BioSeek

Asterand PLC

(LSE: ATD) has acquired BioSeek Inc., a Burlingame, Calif. drug developer that uses predictive human biology. The deal includes a $1 million up-front payment in Asterand stock, and up to $13 million in earnouts (including $10 million in cash). BioSeek had raised about $28 million in VC funding from Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Bay City Capital, Fremont Ventures and Vanguard Ventures.

GE Aviation nabs Naverus

GE Aviation

has acquired Naverus Inc., a Kent, Wash.-based developer of performance-based aircraft navigation. No financial terms were disclosed. Naverus had raised about $20 million in VC funding from Foundation Capital and East Peak Partners.

GE Healthcare acquires ONI assets

GE Healthcare

has agreed to acquire certain assets of ONI Medical Systems, a Wilmington, Mass.-based developer of MRI imaging technology. No financial terms were disclosed. ONI Medical has raised more than $31 million in VC funding since 2002 from Ziegler Meditech Equity Partners, Galen Partners and Ivy Capital Partners.

CDC buys Truition

CDC Software Corp.

(Nasdaq: CDCS) has agreed to acquire Truition Inc., a Toronto-based provider of a software-as-a-service ecommerce platform for retailers and brand manufacturers. No financial terms were disclosed. Truition has raised VC funding from JLA Ventures and VenGrowth.