Shazam, the app that listens and recognizes what song is playing, has been a cutting-edge product since the company’s inception in 1999. The company’s widely useful and universally in-demand audio recognition technology has put them at the forefront of the space for years, and made Shazam one of the most popular apps in the world. To “Shazam” is now widely recognized and utilized as a verb in conversation.According to a report from TechCrunch, the British company is in the process of finalizing a deal to sell Shazam to U.S. tech giant Apple for sums estimated to be north of $400M. The move will allow Apple to further improve their music delivery capabilities and make for a more immersive listening experience for their customers.In recent years, the company has extended the technology beyond helping you remember “who sings that song that’s playing right now” It also integrates with other apps like Snapchat and Apple’s Siri, and it currently sends lots of traffic to other music apps like Spotify and Apple Music, which pay Shazam when those clicks convert to purchases. The Shazam app is now used as an interactive tool for advertisers, bars and restaurants, music venues and more. Shazam’s augmented reality brand marketing service lets you discover content based on pictures that you snap with the app. “You came for music, stay to experience McDonald’s Karaoke, MTN Dew VR Racing and much more,” is the company’s pitch on this feature.It’s not clear which of these operations will carry on post-acquisition, and which of these might be something that Apple would integrate into its own business (and how), but it’s notable that much of what Shazam does is very synergistic with what Apple apple already has in place and in the works. It’s likely that the technology will be used to attract more users to the Apple Music platform.This is not the first large-scale acquisition Apple has made in the music space in recent memory. In 2014, Apple acquired Beats for more than $3B, and absorbed Beats’ executive team–including Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, and Trent Reznor–into the Apple family to continue pushing the limits of the product/service they created with the help of the tech monolith. Beats became the basis for Apple Music, which has roughly 30 million users as of this Fall (Spotify has 60 million paying customers, and 140 million overall).We are excited to see what the inventive minds at Apple will be able to think up to improve the music listening experience using Shazam’s unique technology.[via TechChrunch]
By DNV GLWith oil and gas industry mergers and acquisitions expected to pick up this year, buyers and sellers need to focus on more than financials during due diligence. Other key considerations include environmental and safety impacts of projects or assets.Companies in the oil and gas sector are expecting increased merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in 2017 as a strategy to reorganize for the future, according to DNV GL’s seventh annual benchmark study capturing industry leaders’ priorities, concerns and confidence for the year ahead.A third of respondents surveyed expect their organizations to increase M&A activity in 2017, compared with an already significant 23% in 2016. Overall, 78% expect increased industry consolidation in the year ahead.Global professional services firm EY reports that it is starting to see an upwards shift in oil and gas deals as companies realize there may be a cost to inaction over potential or pending transactions.1 Deal drivers in the upstream sector, for example, include new transactions and refinancing to resolve distressed situations; greater availability of quality assets for acquisitions as companies accelerate portfolio optimization; the rise of creative deal structures, such as joint ventures, as parties seek to share project and capital risk; and a greater influence and presence of private equity.“Because there is such a pressure on margins, there will be continual opportunities for companies with strong balance sheets to look for opportunities,” says Thore E Kristiansen, chief operating officer, exploration and production, and executive director for Portuguese integrated energy company Galp Energia, in an interview for DNV GL’s research. “I see this trend continuing in 2017 – possibly with greater urgency because buyer and seller expectations [on price] are getting closer.”Some opportunities will stem from the five big international oil companies’ plans to sell some USD20-23 billion (bn) in assets this year. In January 2017, Shell sold up to USD4.7bn worth of assets in the UK and Thailand, for example.So far though, there has not been a wave of mega-deals brought on by lower oil prices. “I think this is down to increasing questioning of the big oil model, and because of the valuations in the marketplace, with few synergies working out at these levels,” says Edward Morse, Citigroup’s global head of commodities research for DNV GL’s study. “There are similar issues for medium-sized companies in terms of the struggle to agree valuations.”As the big oil model comes under scrutiny, cost pressures are driving more industry collaboration. “Major oil and gas companies are becoming more dependent on smaller, more agile partners to develop certain discoveries, with the majors becoming predominately financiers towards some of these ventures, as opposed to implementing them,” says DNV GL’s Graeme Pirie, vice president, DNV GL – Oil & Gas.Diversification out of upstream oil and gasCost pressures aside, geopolitical factors are driving some companies to plan strategic moves towards decarbonization. Global energy supplier ENGIE, for example, is pursuing a transformation plan aimed at redesigning and simplifying its portfolio of activities towards a low carbon footprint and less exposure to commodity prices. As part of this plan, it has said that it could eventually sell its exploration and production (E&P) assets depending on the price.Moræus Hanssen, CEO, ENGIE E&PMaria Moræus Hanssen, CEO, ENGIE E&P, explains that the fundamental shift in ENGIE’s strategy is driven by decarbonization, decentralization and digitalization: “These three words describe the mega-trends that we see, and they are what we are aiming to reposition ourselves towards.”She expects to see more oil and gas companies hiving off E&P businesses and anticipates private equity becoming a main buyer of such assets: “E&P used to be big companies, big corporates. Now I think E&P is going to be more and more about companies owned by private equity firms, who have very different perspectives and very different behaviour: a lot of these buy and turn around things.”Non-financial due diligence for M&AAs increased M&A activity and expectations for new portfolio ownership models come into play, companies across the sector are taking on greater obligation to account for their environmental and safety performance in annual reports and other documents required by regulators and law.This trend is being given added impetus by the global decarbonization agenda. Indeed, only three per cent of senior oil and gas professionals say that their companies will be scaling down sustainability initiatives in 2017.The industry’s appetite for continued sustainable practice will appeal to the investment community, which is seeking reassurance over environmental risks in deals. A cross-industry report published by PwC reveals that up to 40% of private equity investors have seen poor environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance as a reason to demand a material discount on a purchase price, or to walk away from a deal.3“The potential or actual environmental liabilities associated with target deals across asset lifecycles can be substantial,” advises Elisabeth Tørstad, CEO, DNV GL – Oil & Gas. “Our due diligence teams provide regulatory compliance and management system suitability, safety, technical, commercial, and environmental due diligence for investing in or divesting oil and gas assets. They see that identifying and quantifying these risks allows purchasers and sellers to negotiate around terms and conditions that can make or break a deal.”As the industry reorganizes, the trend toward smaller players owning and operating assets, and the anticipated greater involvement by private equity, creates greater need for technical expertise to support due diligence.The PwC study suggests that private equity firms may be no less keen than current oil and gas asset owners to avoid unacceptable additional costs, fines or reputational damage. It finds ESG factors high up the agenda for private equity houses; more than two-thirds (70%) have made public commitments to invest responsibly across their portfolios. Of those surveyed, 44% plan to assess the impact on their portfolios of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while 36% see reputation benefits in supporting these goals.Meeting sustainability targets and requirementsDNV GL assists potential buyers and sellers of oil and gas sector assets to cost-effectively and safely meet business, regulatory and reputational objectives in the sustainability area. It can help the industry to align with the UN SDGs and with national regulations and initiatives implementing the COP21 Paris Agreement on limiting global warming.To help minimize any negative aspects of oil and gas developments while maximizing positive impacts such as affordable access to energy supplies, DNV GL has developed a framework for benchmarking financial and reputational consequences of exploiting resources worldwide.The framework measures total impact as the sum of economic, environmental and social impacts. It displays the results using a red-amber-green traffic light system. It is kept updated, and the results can be searched and visualized through the company’s online Resource Map.“Our approaches allow better-informed decisions to be made on how and where to improve social and environmental performance,” Tørstad says. “Greater transparency on safety and environmental risk management processes and sustainability reporting will give the sector much-needed credibility and speed up sustainability improvements for competitive advantage.”This article was first published in PERSPECTIVES (March 2017)The Industry Contribution is a new section in which the oil and gas industry companies share their project endeavors or analyses. This article was produced by Bosch Rexroth and does not necessarily reflect the view of OffshoreEnergyToday.com. No member of the editorial team took part in creation of this article. Please contact us at [email protected] for inquiries.
A twenty-two-year-old electrician, Kwabena Poku has been adjudged the 2014 Golfer of the Year at the second (2nd) edition of the Ghana Golf Awards.The event which was put together by the Ghana Golf Association (GGA) and Primeval media was held on Saturday, December 27, 2014; at the Events Haven, Trade Fair Centre, La, Accra. See the full list of the awardees below:Amateur Golfer of the Year (Male) – Kofi YeboahAmateur Golfer of the Year (Female) – Felicity Okyei Gyeabour, Royal Golf ClubMost Improved Golfer (Male) – Eric Oddoye-Sowah, Achimota Golf Club Most Improved Golfer (Female) – Mercy Werner, Tema Country Golf ClubMost Promising Golfer – Kwame Ligbidi, Tema Country Golf ClubMost Promising Golfer (Female) – Cathrene Boateng, Celebrity Golf ClubJunior Golfer of the year (Male) – Davidson Atila, Tafo Golf ClubJunior Golfer of the year (Female) – Pamela Atila, Tafo Golf Club Senior Golfer of the year (Male) – Yahya Musah, Obuasi Golf ClubSenior Golfer of the Year (Female) – Mathilda Kusi, Tarkwa Golf ClubProfessional Golfer of the Year – Vincent Torgah, Tema Country Golf ClubGolf Personality of the Year – Alfred Baku, Tafo Golf ClubGolfer of the Year – Kwabena Poku, Royal Golf Club