Merjerz puts a crowdsourcing spin on M&A

Merjerz has built a website to bring together acquirers with desirable startups — it’s like dating site for M&A. Anyone can lend their expertise to the process by reviewing a startup, and offering their take on the company culture, the market opportunity, and more.

A classic startup horror story: the M&A bait and switch

The founder was home in his kitchen cooking dinner when the call came. It was one of those moments when the color seems to drain out of the food in front of you. The voice on the other line was the contact at the company that has been trying to acquire his small startup for several months. “Our engineers looked at what you showed us during the due diligence and told our CEO, ‘It doesn’t look so hard, we can build it ourselves.'”

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Google considers financing a deal for Yahoo buyout

Google is the latest company to be connected to a potential buyout of troubled Yahoo Inc. The search giant has talked to at least two equity firms about helping it acquire a chunk of Yahoo, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, which sites an unnamed source close to the matter.

New rules for the new internet bubble

(Editor’s note: Serial entrepreneur Steve Blank is the author of Four Steps to the Epiphany. This is an edited version of a longer story that originally appeared on his blog.)

Twitter cofounder Biz Stone to advise AOL

Internet behemoth AOL announced today that it has hired Biz Stone, cofounder of white-hot microblogging service Twitter, as a “social impact advisor.”

Silicon Valley VCs reach highest confidence levels in two years

Venture Capitalists are increasingly optimistic about the immediate future of investing in Silicon Valley. Their confidence registered 3.75 on a 5 point scale, with 5 indicating high confidence and 1 indicating low confidence, according to the quarterly Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index released today.

Google snags Twitter movie recommender Fflick for $10M

Search behemoth Google is back on the prowl again, today snapping up microblogging Twitter recommendation service Fflick for around $10 million, the companies confirmed this morning, one being an unnamed source at Google.

Exit activity leapt 25% in 2010, but is 2011 the “Year of the IPO?”

Successful exit activity for venture-backed companies rose 25 percent in 2010 from the previous year, reaching levels close to those seen before the recession and netting $39 billion in liquidity for 514 companies, according to a study released today by Dow Jones VentureSource.

Xing snaps up event startup Amiando

German business social networking site Xing has acquired Amiando, an online event management and ticketing services company, for around 10.3 million euros, as the “German LinkedIn” attempts to engage its more than 10 million members more actively.

My, what a big balance sheet you have!

(Editor’s note: Jeff Bussgang is a General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners. This column originally appeared on his blog Seeing Both Sides.)

Tech banker Frank Quattrone foresees lots of cross-industry mergers

Apple taught the tech world that going vertical — where a company owns many of the critical technology ingredients that it uses in its products — can result in big payoffs. Products like the iPhone and iPad are made with Apple software, chips, and hardware.

Are we nearing the end of the VC dog days?

(Editor’s note: David Millard is Chair of the Business Department of Barnes & Thornburg LLP. He submitted this story to VentureBeat.)

Google exec: Android was “best deal ever”

Buying Android Inc., the wireless-software startup founded by Andy Rubin, was Google’s “best deal ever,” said David Lawee, vice president of corporate development at the search giant.

Social buying funding heats up as ShopSocially, Groupalia snag millions

Investors interested in grabbing a piece of the white-hot social buying sector threw more money into the space today, as shopping recommendation site ShopSocially announced $1.1 million in first round financing, and Spanish coupon site Groupalia locked down €5 million in its second institutional round of funding.

Amid Microsoft buyout rumors, Linden Lab founder leaves CEO post

The game of musical chairs in the executive suite at Second Life parent company Linden Lab continued today, as founder Philip Rosedale, who had been serving as interim CEO since June, announced he was stepping down from the job immediately.

Electronic Arts picks up Angry Birds publisher Chillingo

Mobile gamers have become obsessed with small, pudgy and vehemently Angry Birds — mostly playing a game that sends them flying into walls and watching the sparks fly. So much so that Electronic Arts has decided to acquire the game’s publisher, U.K.-based Chillingo, for a reported $20 million.