Posted on March 30th, 2011 · Posted in News

“Better Acquisitions Gathering 2011″

January 13, 2011 – As part of its on-going thought-leadership initiatives in technology investment banking, Woodside Capital Partners today hosted the “Better Acquisitions Gathering 2011”. The Gathering brought together 90 executives including CEO’s from leading venture-backed software and internet services companies, top venture capitalists, and the senior-most corporate development executives from some of the most active acquirers in technology. Collectively the companies at The Gathering led over $25 billion in acquisitions during the past year including some of the biggest headline-grabbing transactions – like NBC Universal (Comcast), Netezza (IBM), AdMob (Google), Playfish (Electronic Arts) and Associated Content (Yahoo!). Speakers included:

  • Comcast Interactive Media: Amy Banse, President
  • Yahoo!: Jonathon Dillon, Former Vice President, M&A Integration
  • Electronic Arts: Mike Foley, Vice President, Corporate Development
  • LinkedIn: Robby Kwok, Head of Corporate Development
  • CBS, Inc: Zander Lurie, Senior Vice President, Strategic Development
  • eBay: Lorraine McDonough, Vice President, Corporate Development
  • IBM: Eli Mendoza, Vice President, Corporate Development
  • Yahoo! / Advance Publications: Andrew Siegel, SVP, Strategy and Corporate Development, Advance Publications
  • Google: Dave Sobota, Senior Director, Corporate Development
  • Research in Motion: Chris Wormald, Vice President, Strategic Alliances

L to R: Kelly Porter, WCP; Dave Sobota, Google; Rudy Burger, WCP

Meeting in the ornate 15th-century ballroom of Stonebrook Court under a gilded Venetian ceiling, the executives at The Gathering focused on one of the greatest challenges in the technology eco-system: despite best intentions, there is a high failure rate of technology acquisitions. This is a profoundly important issue to all stakeholders in the technology industry – entrepreneurs, investors, acquirers, suppliers and customers alike. If this issue could be improved even marginally, all would benefit, and it would likely spur even more acquisitions.

Each company discussed their acquisition strategies and growth plans for 2011. Eli Mendoza of IBM described his company’s announced plan to spend up to $15 billion acquiring companies between now and 2015, in order to double IBM’s earnings per share. Dave Sobota of Google described how Google is making a broad spectrum of acquisitions, focused on acquiring great talent, great technology, and in extending further into existing and new markets. Both Amy Banse of Comcast and Lorraine McDonough of eBay discussed the importance of well-considered strategy and also of accountability in integration, and how these factors play-in to their companies’ growth plans.


L to R: Amy Banse, Comcast; Chris Wormald, RIM; Lorraine McDonough, eBay, Robby Kwok, LinkedIn

The Gathering was capped by a special appearance by Jed York, the CEO of the San Francisco 49ers. Jed spoke about how NFL talent acquisitions are analogous to company acquisitions, and lessons that can be applied to business from his experience. The timing of his talk coincided with the hiring last week of Jim Harbaugh as new head coach of the 49ers. Jed also spoke about the opportunities inherent in building a new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara.


L to R: Kelly Porter, WCP; Andrew Siegel, Advance/Yahoo!; Zander Lurie, CBS; Dave Sobota, Google; Eli Mendoza, IBM

The half-day Gathering centered around two panels, the first focused on Acquisition Strategy, and the second on Acquisition Integration. The Better Acquisitions Gathering is part of a series of thought-leadership events hosted by Woodside Capital Partners.

For more information or if you would like to apply for inclusion in next year’s Better Acquisition Gathering, please contact Kelly Porter at 650-559-7700.

Acquisition Gathering, please contact Kelly Porter at 650-559-7700.


Stonebrook Court, Los Altos Hills, CA

Dan Beldy, Steamboat Ventures; Henry Wong, Garage Technology Ventures

Ajay Chopra, Trinity Ventures; Brett Wilson, TubeMogul; Josh Stein, DFJ

Audience members

Andrew Siegel, Advance / Yahoo!; Kelly Porter, WCP

Pejman Nozad, Amidzad; Russ Siegelman, Kleiner Perkins

Market Overview Presentation

Rudy Burger, WCP; Eli Mendoza, IBM; Claudia Fan Munce, IBM

Dave Whorton, Tugboat Ventures; Richard Ling, Rembrandt Ventures