Let’s Play M&A Bingo

Let’s face it. There’s never been a better time for consolidation than now.
When the IPO pipeline needs a plumber, the M&A patch catches fire. Sky-high
cyber-valuations that once put offline snails to shame have come home to
roost. But these blue-light specials won’t last. While Internet stocks are
dirt-cheap, it’s time for old school to go shopping.

It’s prime time for brick-and-mortar businesses to quit their teeth
gnashing and break out the pocketbook. Now’s the chance for a little
payback. Remember all those snooty CEOs that hit the airwaves on CNBC
following their umpteenth IPO moonshot?

C’mon. You remember. For Pete’s sake, the fellows hardly wore a decent
dress shirt to gloat. Millionaires traded in the “M” for a “B,” and you
resented sharing Forbes Richest List with a guy who wore Birkenstocks to work.

When Steve Ballmer came on like gangbusters proclaiming tech stocks to be
grossly overvalued, he didn’t fool anybody. Microsoft has more cash on hand than most banks. Throw a scare into
armchair investors, watch valuations plummet, and cash-wealthy Microsoft’s
left standing to pick through the bones. Careful what you wish for, Steve.

So the other day, I stumbled upon a nice piece of fan mail from a reader of
mine who wondered aloud whether I might be able to provide a little forward
looking analysis on the merger and acquisition front. That got me thinking.
Sounds fair enough. After all, I can always consult my magic eight ball if
the need should arise.

So, I rolled up my sleeves and resolved to take a dash of speculative fun,
add one heaping teaspoon of M&A activity, combined with a healthy dose of
entertainment value. Shake well. Stir. Serve over ice.

Voila. My recipe for M&A Bingo.

For those of you already familiar with smoky backroom bingo parlors, you’ll
still need to give my modified set of rules a look-see below. And of
course, I encourage you to play along at home.















IPO war chests have run dry, stock prices can’t support a follow-on
offering, and many start-ups are faced with merge or be merged. Since we’ll
be seeing our fair share of big fish gobbling guppies over the near term,
let’s set some ground rules.

Rule #1

I make up the rules as I go along. If I should feel the need to cheat in
order to win, I may quietly modify the entire set of rules without prior
written notice. Sorry, OTCBB companies are not eligible to enter.

Rule #2

Rather than start with a complete bingo card from the outset, I’ll add four
companies each week to the card. Considering the constant shifting
landscape in M&A activity, this is the only fair way I can possibly stay

Rule #3

Companies listed on the bingo scorecard must be on the receiving end of a
merger or acquisition in some capacity. That includes any form of
compensation swapped for a majority stake in the bingo company listed. If
Bezos manages to swap a truckload of beanie babies for a majority interest
in eToys , “X” gets the square.

Rule #4

If I should correctly get five companies in a row, vertically,
horizontally, diagonally, or a Fireman’s corner, I win. For those of you
wondering what in the world a Fireman’s corner is, it’s all four corners,
and the middle FREE space makes five. Also known as a Postage Stamp.

If you see something you think I ought to add, modify, or Ctrl + Alt + Del,
feel free to drop me an e-mail and let me know. If it’s clever or
irreverent, it’ll make its way into my rulebook. I’ll be posting the
updated bingo card at the end of each week, so keep an eye out. For now,
see above for my M&A Bingo picks for this week’s batch of companies most
likely to get hitched in short order.

Any questions or comments, love letters or hate mail? As always, feel free
to forward them to [email protected].

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