Mergers & Acquisitions

It’s not easy to stay on top of the latest company realignments in the retail industry. It’s a volatile environment — across retailer segments as well as solution provider organizations. As soon as the announcements are made, Retail TouchPoints publishes an article covering the news, in this Mergers & Acquisitions section. Learn about the latest developments here.

Conversocial Acquires Chatbot Platform

Conversocial, a digital customer experience platform, is acquiring Assist, an enterprise chatbot platform, to improve its ability to offer scalable, conversational customer experiences to retailers and brands. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The combined company seeks to enable brands to transform sales, marketing and customer service with dynamic customer interactions that can seamlessly integrate bots and live agents. As part of the acquisition, Assist CEO Shane Mac, who launched the company with Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens, will become Chief Automation Officer of Conversocial. Conversocial will retain all of Assist’s current staff and will immediately begin hiring for additional positions.

Walmart Acquires Israel-Based Natural Language Processing Startup

Walmart has acquired Aspectiva, an Israel-based natural language processing (NLP) startup, for an undisclosed sum. Aspectiva will join Walmart’s Store No. 8 incubation arm, where its NLP capabilities will be used to enhance the end-to-end shopping experience. The company will continue operating from its offices in Tel Aviv.

Things Remembered Finds A Buyer After Bankruptcy Filing

Things Remembered, a retailer that sells personalized gifts and merchandise, will sell most of its business to Enesco, a distributor of giftware, home décor and accessories, upon filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.Financial terms of the sale have not been disclosed, but Enesco reportedly had a deal to acquire the assets for $17.5 million, subject to higher bids. After the sale, Enesco intends to operate the online, direct mail and B2B retail businesses of Things Remembered, as well as an undetermined portfolio of current stores under the Things Remembered brand. Things Remembered currently operates approximately 450 stores in 43 states, but the retailer was preparing to close 220 locations and 30 kiosks before the sale, according to court documents. The same documents indicated that Enesco’s offer would include at least 50 stores, with the option to add more locations.

WorkJam Acquires Peerio Technologies To Add More Secure Messaging

WorkJam, a digital workplace solution provider, has acquired employee communications software provider Peerio Technologies. The deal will add chat and secure document sharing to WorkJam’s existing team communication and workstream collaboration capabilities. Peerio will provide WorkJam users with three different modes of communication: Live Chat lets corporate employees, store-level managers and associates share messages or files instantly to communicate about day-to-day activities; Channels allow for targeted messages to be sent to specific audiences, such as employees with a certain job or a those subscribed to a particular topic; and Messaging allows communication to be sent directly to a particular user’s inbox. The service allows employees to improve collaboration, whether that involves managers sharing a message with associates or office workers distributing files. All three forms of communication have been designed with security in mind, making the platform appropriate for sharing sensitive information. “The secret sauce around Peerio is the level of security and encryption that surrounds all these technologies,” said Steven Kramer, CEO and Co-Founder of WorkJam in an interview with Retail TouchPoints at the 2019 NRF Big Show. “This is an important topic around digital workforce platforms, because a lot of different tools have taken the approach that it’s…

Walmart Adds Four Delivery Partners To Expand Online Grocery Operations

[Editor’s note: This article initially contained erroneous information. The mistake has been corrected.] Walmart is working with four additional companies to boost its grocery delivery options: Point Pickup, Skipcart, AxleHire and Roadie. The partnerships will help Walmart double its number of locations offering grocery delivery to 1,600 by the end of 2019.

Akamai Acquires Janrain To Strengthen Customer Identity Management

Akamai Technologies has acquired Janrain, an identity management software firm, for an undisclosed sum. The deal positions the cloud delivery platform to offer retailers more options to crack down on identity fraud and bot attacks and to improve security across channels. Under terms of the acquisition, Akamai will combine the Janrain Identity Cloud and the Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform, a security software solution that defends against DDoS attacks and bots that look like legitimate customers trying to access a site. Janrain will operate fully under the Akamai brand once the platforms are integrated.

Alibaba Acquires Open-Source Data Processing Startup For $103 Million

Alibaba has acquired data Artisans (dA), a Berlin-based startup that provides distributed systems and large-scale data streaming services for enterprises, for $103 million, according to TechCrunch. The companies have been working together since 2016 to develop the architecture and performance of dA’s software.

Standard Cognition Acquires In-Store Mapping Tech Provider

Standard Cognition, an AI-powered cashierless checkout provider that has positioned its technology as an “alternative to Amazon Go,” has acquired, a mapping and computer vision startup, for an undisclosed sum. With the technology, Standard Cognition will be able to map larger stores, allowing the company to expand into new retail verticals. The Standard Cognition technology uses store ceiling cameras to determine what products are in the store, customer location and items they possess so that the shoppers can walk in and out of a store without stopping at a cashier to pay. The company already opened its own pilot store, Standard Market, to test the technology in public. While the 1,900-square-foot San Francisco-based store sells food, cleaning supplies and general convenience store items, Standard Cognition wants to broaden its horizons beyond this vertical.

Stop & Shop Acquires Supermarket Pioneer King Kullen

Stop & Shop will acquire King Kullen Grocery Co., a Long Island, N.Y.-based supermarket chain. The agreement includes 32 King Kullen supermarkets, five Wild by Nature stores and the use of its corporate offices in Bethpage, N.Y. The deal is expected to close in Q1 2019.

Vector Capital Acquires Call Center Software Solution Provider

Aspect Software, an integrated customer engagement, workforce optimization and self-service omnichannel solution provider, will be acquired by private equity firm Vector Capital. Under the terms of the deal, Vector Capital will invest more than $100 million of equity capital in Aspect’s business.

Toys ‘R’ Us Wins Approval To Sell Asian Operations For $760 Million

Toys ‘R’ Us has won approval in bankruptcy court to sell the majority stake of its Asian operations, which includes more than 450 stores in 10 markets, to a joint venture that includes Fung Retailing for $760 million. The retailer is planning to expand its Asia business next year with 68 additional stores (approximately 50 in China) with a focus on building smaller shops. Toys ‘R’ Us Asia said it would stick to stores of approximately 10,000 square feet, compared with the 40,000 square-foot average in the U.S.
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