So, there are two possibilities.
- A celestial, well-coordinated practical joke is being played on me (good job, guys – I fell for it!)
- OR, Kenshoo is about to get acquired by IBM for $300 million.
How do I know? Either I’m being a good sleuth, or a big dummy. Decide for yourself, and comment below!
The first clues: Blog post on January 16
I wrote a blog post on January 16, entitled ‘5 reasons Kenshoo won’t be sold anywhere close to $400mil‘. It’s a good post, and got a decent 80 pageviews that day. Interestingly, every few days after that, the post would suddenly gather pageviews, with no referring site – that is, people were not discovering the post on some other blog, they were clicking on a link to the post sent to them via email.
That was the first clue. Why would this article be getting circulated in private? No one wanted to comment on it publicly, yet a reasonably large number of people were clearly reading it. Were VCs from Sequoia reading it? Were Kenshoo employees passing it around? Or were potential acquirers curious during due-diligence?
(Around this time, I’m kicking myself for not having a self-hosted blog, since I can’t dig too much into analytics on the hosted WordPress blog that I currently have)
Who’s that visiting your LinkedIn profile again?
On 19 January, the CTO of Kenshoo stopped by my LinkedIn profile, as I tweeted then. Given I had made a not-so-flattering case for Kenshoo, that made me a little… uneasy. I’m sure he quickly changed his LinkedIn settings after I commented on this!
Ebbs and flow: January 22 – February 14
For about a month after that, this pattern continued. Sudden spike in pageviews, that would then die down. Perhaps after the first round of talks, Kenshoo management decided to lay low for a while, considering their options after Google passed…
Renewed interest and more clues: March 5
And then, all of a sudden, I noticed a spike of activity – 90 pageviews on the same day – more than I got on the day I posted the article. Again, the activity wasn’t associated with any referrers – that is, the article wasn’t mentioned on Twitter, not posted on any blogs, or shared on Facebook. All of these people came through links passed around over email.
Well, almost all. Not everyone was careful, and some made the mistake of trying to find my article via Google. This meant that I got a hold of the query terms used to find the article – giving me further clues.
So, what were people searching for? See if you can read the tea leaves:
- kenshoo valuation
- kenshoo in talks
- kenshoo acquisition
- kenshoo $400 million
- kenshoo asking 300 million
And the most searched for phrase?
- kenshoo ibm
Kenshoo doesn’t actually have a relationship with IBM, so it’s curious this phrase would be searched for that many times, all in one day. Interestingly, my top choice for potential acquirers for Kenshoo is IBM, so it’s no surprise I’m putting two and two together. Time will tell!
Or, some engineers at Kenshoo are playing an elaborate joke on me. I can’t really tell, because WordPress doesn’t give me access to geographic stats. Darn!
Actually, I’m totally fine with that.