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Tuesday, January 31, 2021

MIVA, an early bandwagon-jumper on the paid-search wagon, is apparently throwing in the towel, engaging Deutsche Bank to arrange a sale or buyout.

If this is the end of the line for MIVA as an independent entity, it would be more bitter than sweet. MIVA was one of the first companies to follow Overture into the paid search space. MIVA, originally FindWhat.com, had front-row seats to the contextual advertising revolution in which sponsors were paying for text ads served up on relevant search engine result pages. A few years ago, MIVA and Overture were the only two publicly traded pure players in this space turning a profit. Overture punched out too soon and too cheap, agreeing to be acquired by Yahoo! in 2003 for a mere $1.6 billion before its paid search business grew to dominate the Yahoo! income statement.

Now it appears as if MIVA will be punching out too late and far, far cheaper. MIVA’s stock was one of the biggest losers of 2005, shedding 72% of its value. It was a year filled with accounting controversies, executive defections, and crumbling profitability.

I’m not sure why this Motley Fool analysis interprets paid search listings to be some sort of untapped goldmine. Google has the market all but cornered, with Yahoo! massaging whatever’s left. After those two have marked out their territories, there’s not enough of a sliver left for even small-fry like MIVA to make a go.

Anyway, the main reason I find this interesting: MIVA is a Florida-based concern (headquartered in fast-growing Fort Myers), one that I’ve tracked for the past couple of years (under the former FindWhat.com moniker). I guess any news about Florida business, especially in glamour niches like new media, are going to pique my curiosity for a while yet, even though I’m out of sunshine territory now. And besides, in light of all this, MIVA might be the “tri” in my predicted trifecta of new-year Florida M&A poaches.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 01/31/2006 08:47:15 PM
Category: Internet, Florida Livin', Business | Permalink |

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