It may be the market's historical summertime lull, but mergers and acquisitions are on the rise.
A pair of mergers kicked off this week with real estate portal Trulia (TRLA) and deep discounter Family Dollar (FDO) getting bought out at reasonable premiums. Let's go over a few companies that may be acquired soon.
Selling real books isn't easy these days, but Barnes & Noble is holding up as the last major superstore. In a move that's long overdue, the retailer announced last month that it will spin off its troublesome Nook business early next year.
Between its prolific superstores, steady campus bookstores and growing online storefront, there are plenty of moving parts at Barnes & Noble to attract a private equity firm. The buyer could carve out what's worth keeping and attempt a turnaround away form a finicky market that needs improvement on a quarterly basis.
There have been struggles at SodaStream, and global demand for carbonated beverages has been stagnant. It's against this difficult climate that reports surfaced late last week about SodaStream in talks with an undisclosed private equity firm for a buyout.
Sources told Bloomberg that SodaStream may be acquired at roughly $40 a share. A year ago SodaStream would have laughed at this kind of chatter, but after several rough quarters where growth is slowing and margins are getting crushed, it's easy to see why SodaStream may be willing to listen.
Digital music is growing in popularity, and Pandora has been the poster child for streaming sites. Music fans took in more than 5 billion hours of Pandora content in its latest quarter, but growth has been slowing.
More importantly, tech giants are snapping up digital music specialists. Re/code reported on Monday that Apple (AAPL) is in talks to acquire app maker Swell. This follows Google (GOOG) buying Songza, and Apple's purchase earlier this year of Beats Music.
It's odd to see Apple and Google buying smaller music apps when the niche's whale -- Pandora -- is still available. As consolidation continues and Pandora faces a more challenging climate, punching out may seem like a smart solution.
Video game sales were in a slump for a few years until the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 hit the market in November. Unfortunately the same kind of excitement for the two consoles didn't materialize a year earlier when Nintendo put out the Wii U.
Nintendo's hardware struggles may make it an unappetizing buyout candidate, but then we get to Nintendo's software business. This is, after all, the company behind Super Mario, Pokemon, Zelda and countless more iconic gaming franchises. Armed with Nintendo's characters, a company could quietly bow out of the hardware end and push its games across various devices and platforms.
LeapFrog's electronic learning toys that were all the rage through the 1990s have fallen out of favor. It has a short-lived renaissance two years with its LeapPad tablet, but a deluge of cheaper full-featured tablets that do more than just play kid games ate into its potential.
LeapFrog has been introducing products and improving existing products. Given LeapFrog's strong brand in electronic learning, it would make sense for a tech company looking to hook younger users -- or for a larger toymaker looking for growth -- to snap up LeapFrog at a discount to its all-time highs. After all, LeapFrog just graduated from the school of hard knocks.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of SodaStream. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (C shares), LeapFrog Enterprises, Pandora Media and SodaStream. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google (C shares), LeapFrog Enterprises, Pandora Media and SodaStream.
9 Brands Made in America for Summertime Fun
5 More Companies That Could Be Bought Out Soon
Founded in 2011, Shinola has exemplified the rebound of Detroit. Shinola's employees consist of lifelong locals and craftsmen from as far away as Romania. The manufacturer hold their in high esteem. "Shinola represents America on some level, I believe," President Jacques Panis notes in discussing its bicycles. "It represents the notion that anything is possible."
When you are biking, always remember to be safe by using a helmet. But some children and adults feel they look foolish looking wearing what Bandbox co-founder Dr. Cheryl Allen-Munley calls "a plastic mushroom strapped to my head." Looks aside, the numbers don't lie. According to a 2012 study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, cyclist triple their chance of death by head injury without a helmet. Thanks to Bandbox, of Lebanon, New Jersey, riders of all ages can look they way they want while staying safe. Bandbox offer covers for its helmets that can make a rider look like a skater, a '20s era flapper or an equestrian.
Waterproof blankets probably aren't the first item you think of when it comes to summer, but they come in handy for trips to the beach, camping and other outdoor events. "Ever since I was young I have always loved the outdoors, sunshine, nature, and mountains," says Jennifer Lock, founder of Zip-n-go in Hayden, Idaho. "... But [I] never loved the grass, dirt, wet ground, and bugs that came along with it."
Some of the best summer memories get created with family and friends around the grill. Little Rock, Arkansas' Paul James couldn't agree more. That's why he resurrected PK Grills, the brand he loved growing up, which had ceased production in the '70s. Avery Allen, a PK employee of almost nine years, speaks on his love for his own durable PK Grill with a deep fondness. "I'm sure if I don't put mine in the will, my kids will fight for it."
Nothing says summer much more than being in the water. Los Angeles, California's Channel Islands Surfboards (CI) Surfboards has been "dedicated to performance and quality through hard work, innovation and originality" since 1969. Head Al Merrick takes pride in the company's transformation from a grassroots operation to cutting edge with the belief that it will shape the industry with innovative designs and attention to quality.
Simms Fishing of Bozeman, Montana, is the last American wader company around. Employing a team of avid anglers, the company strives to give anglers the best day on the water with waders, bags, socks and other items. The company has a deep commitment to fishing. In fact, Simms encourages "Fishing Fridays" for all their employees to take a half-day to go fishing. Not only is it a great way to start the weekend, it has also led to some of Simms' product breakthroughs. "I think manufacturing in America is still very viable," says K.C. Simms, president of Simms. "I love seeing this move to bring more products back to the United States."
7. American Optical eyewear Since 1826, AO Eyewear has been making eyewear in America. Based in Southbridge, Massachusetts, it has quite a few distinctions, but no accolade gets held higher by the company than the "original pilot sunglasses." That's because in 1957, AO and the U.S. Air Force brought out the original pair of spec for pilots, the FG58 aviator sunglasses. Now, can you imagine "Top Gun" without AO's contributions?
Hopefully your summer will consist of at least some kind of getaway. The Lodge in Springtown, Pennsylvania, specializes in accessories, gear and grooming for men, but its travel section could work for anyone wanting to look stylish when going on vacation this summer. The company has only been around since 2013, but it carries an ideology that can resonate with a large section of Americans. As its website says, "We're folks who love America. We like style. And we like the good things in life." No arguments there.
Launched in 2012 by Jim Ford and Cliff Walker in Franklin, Tennessee, Orca Coolers has been selling skilled American-crafted coolers (and several other products) to avid anglers, hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts at competitive prices. Any day out in the sweltering summer sun needs cool drinks and snacks. Even if you aren't an avid outdoorsperson, you can enjoy an Orca at any outdoor event you attend this season. A portion of each purchase goes towards conservation groups, wounded warrior programs, breast cancer research and women's outdoor groups.