Maybe they just don't see it. Maybe they are too close to it. I come away from my trip out west to San Francisco saying that people just don't get it: These days there's so much venture capital money that anyone can start a company -- what to do with that company, at this time, is what matters more.
I know, I sound like an East Coaster, a banker, a financial guy; however, that's exactly what's needed right now. I have been talking to too many companies that I would salivate to put together if I were running a huge company that could borrow money for next to nothing and has stock to give.
What would I advise these companies to do? Let's start with Google (GOOGL), a company with way too much cash and a search capability that's second to none. At the same time, it has an asset in YouTube that it hasn't been able to figure out how to make the requisite amount of money. I have an answer: Google should buy its partner, Twitter (TWTR), which I believe is a logical seller because it can't figure out how to monetize the darned thing. That's step one.
Step two? Google should buy the rights to every single major sporting event that comes up -- from football to lacrosse to any kind of soccer. It needs to stream all that on YouTube with instant commentary on Twitter, because Google lacks a social component with that capability. It should charge a license fee to all big companies that have employees who tweet. That's the commercial revenue stream the company so lacks.
That takes care of Twitter and Google.
Now let's partner Yahoo! (YHOO) or Priceline (PCLN), two companies in need of growth. One has a ton of cash and a stock that will be reduced to next to nothing after it stewards Alibaba (BABA) and Yahoo Japan to the U.S., and the other is a natural acquirer anxious to expand its travel vertical.
Either company should take advantage of what I see happening in San Francisco: algorithmic delivery of product. Merge Grubhub (GRUB) with Postmates and Instacart and you have a one-stop way to get anything delivered to you in one easy app. Not sure which place to order from? Buy Yelp (YELP) and have the ratings alongside the app so you have a vox populi rating system. Both companies badly need to expand to what I call the last mile, the one from the retailer/restaurant operator to the home.
How do I know this will work? Because I own an inn and a restaurant and I can tell you from wearing that hat, not this reporting and writing hat, how important this combination would be for both enterprises.
Not all these companies are sellers, but with cheap money you can make a "Godfather offer" and, believe me, the deals will get done.