Tech roundup / Stratasys marries MakerBot; Surprise! You've been sold
Teva board shuffle proposed; Analysts charmed by fast Internet turn clammy on Bezeq.
Marriage in 3-D printing world: Stratasys, which is based on Rehovot and the U.S., has completed its union with MakerBot (charming name, really). Their merger had been announced a month ago and now it is done. While Stratasys is a hoary old company in tech terms, having been founded more than 25 years (!) ago, MakerBot is a sarky young startup just four years of age, which like the ancient 'un also engages in desktop three-dimensional printing — which basically involves feeding a substrate such as plastic into the machine and getting a three-dimensional model, not a flat piece of paper with a picture of the model.
Consultancy argues for restructuring Teva board, rewarding CEO: The investments consultancy Entropy advises shareholders to oppose renewing the appointments of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' directors Moshe Many, Arie Belldegrun, Amir Elstein and Yitzhak Peterburg, on the grounds that on principle it doesn’t like staggered boards. The purpose of staggering board appointments is to ward off hostile takeovers and also to preclude the possibility of all the directors walking off in a huff at once. It also, however, weakens the power of shareholders to decide on the structure of the board, the consultancy points out. Meanwhile, Entropy does support giving CEO Jeremy Levin a $1.2 million bonus for 2012, on the grounds that he met his goals.
Since more Teva news is never too much, Tech Roundup also notes that Levin is planning to expand the pharmaceutical giant's penetration of two giant emerging markets — Brazil and China, Globes reported last week. Why there? They are enormous, the potential market share for generics is purely staggering and Teva's barely present.
Surprise! You've been sold: Ironically given the company's name, Trusteer only advised its workers that the company had been bought by a multinational after the event. IBM, the workers were told at a meeting last week, had agreed to pay a stunning $800 million and counting in cash for the south Tel Aviv-based firm, double and more than initial industry speculation. The company makes software to thwart fraud in online bank transactions — in English, it makes fancy anti-viral software for banks — and its selling price is some 80 times the investment made in Trusteer. Trusteer is IBM’s 10th company purchase in Israel.
Chegg gearing up to float on Wall Street: This may not be an Israeli company but it has an Israeli serial angel, one Oren Zeev, and last Wednesday Chegg filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $150 million. Industry sources think California-based Chegg will seek to float at a pre-money company value of about $800 million. Zeev, according to crunchbase, invested $4.7 million in the company. Which does what? Calling itself "The student hub", Chegg gives poor students access to expensive text books — mainly by renting them to the kids — and provides other help to achieve graduation. Do note that Barnes & Nobles also rents out costly books, as Bloomberg-Businessweek points out.
Bezeq downgraded: So much for Wall Street and Israelis. On the other side of the planet, the Excellence-Nessuah investment bank has downgraded its recommendation for the Bezeq phone company to Underperform. Why did analysts Gilad Alper and Liat Glazer do that? Mainly because of the Israel Electric Corporation. What is the IEC up to that could discombobulate Bezeq? It is building a megafast fiber-optic network on the national grid, constituting gorgeously wonderful competition to Bezeq's own network. Alper and Glazer are confident that the IEC system will change Israeli telecoms forever. "IBC" — the temporary name of the IEC venture — "is a fact," they write, anticipating that nationwide deployment will start in the first half of 2014. There is some irony in this story, as Bezeq is a state-of-the-art-telecoms company and the IEC is often accused of being a flab-ridden dinosaur. Stay tuned.