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Acquia buys Widen

Acquia staffers in a coding session with users of the open-source content management software it supports.Acquia


Acquia buys Widen

Acquia, the Boston software firm that powers online content for businesses, announced on Wednesday that it has acquired Widen, a company that helps brands manage marketing online. Dries Buytaert, co-founder and chief technology officer of Acquia, said his company has “long been an established leader in managing textual website content.” Now, Acquia is looking to expand into video and audio content, as well as product information management. Acquia was founded in 2007 as a way to commercialize Drupal, an open source content management system also founded by Buytaert. As a “software-as-a-service” company, Acquia makes Drupal — a free product — enticing to paying customers by offering additional products and support services. Businesses use Acquia to build and operate websites, apps, and other digital products. Mike Sullivan, president and CEO of Acquia, wrote in a blog post that the deal is Acquia’s “fourth and largest acquisition in the past two years,” but he did not disclose a purchase price. Sullivan said the company will “immediately invest in accelerated development” of Widen’s technology, which will soon allow Acquia to add videos, charts, PDFs, memes, and social images to content. Wilden is also a leader in product information management, allowing businesses to track metrics such as the size or color of a product, or enhance marketing with digital features such as demonstration videos. Sullivan said about 700 organizations use Widen, including New Balance, Crayola, and sports retailer Fanatics. The two companies already have “numerous joint customers,” according to Buytaert. Acquia raised roughly $200 million before it was bought in 2019 for $1 billion by investment firm Vista Equity Partners, according to Pitchbook. The company has hired 500 people so far this year and has plans to “continue this rapid pace,” Sullivan said. — ANISSA GARDIZY



Entrepreneurs still started companies during pandemic

Entrepreneurship dropped in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Babson College’s latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report. The poll of more than 2,000 US adults last year and released on Wednesday showed that the entrepreneurial activity rate — the number of working-age adults starting or running a new business, as measured by Babson — was 15.4 percent, down from 17.4 percent in 2019, but roughly the same as in 2018. Last year, roughly one-half of entrepreneurs said they were motivated to start a business because jobs were tough to find, representing a 22 percent increase from 2019. Also, roughly half said the pandemic introduced new business opportunities. Of those polled, 4.4 percent closed a business, an increase from 2.9 percent in 2019; more than one-third cited the pandemic as the reason. — JON CHESTO



Tripadvisor’s charity to give $1m to aid Afghan refugees

Tripadvisor’s charitable arm is giving $1 million to help Afghan refugees, by donating the money to the World Central Kitchen’s effort to provide restaurant meals for thousands of refugees arriving at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and air bases in Spain. This effort has already provided more than 60,000 meals to people fleeing Afghanistan. Since 2015, the Tripadvisor Foundation has given more than $7 million to help refugees fleeing various countries. “We want those in need, facing one of the toughest challenges of their lives, to feel safe, cared for and welcomed upon arrival,” said Stephen Kaufer, CEO of the Needham-based travel website operator. — JON CHESTO


Parent company of Citizens Bank buys investment bank

The parent company of Citizens Bank has reached a deal to buy an investment bank that specializes in healthcare, tech, financial services, and real estate sectors for $149 million. The investment bank, JMP Group, will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Providence-based Citizens Financial Group after the deal closes. JMP has reported that it had 180 employees as of Dec. 31, and three other offices other than its San Francisco headquarters, in New York, Chicago, and Boston. “The transaction brings us a strong platform based in San Francisco and New York, expanding both our range of services and our national presence,” said Donald McCree, head of commercial banking at Citizens. — JON CHESTO



Sherwin-Williams latest paint company to say sales hurt by material shortage

Sherwin-Williams lowered its revenue forecast for the third quarter, becoming the second paint maker in two days to signal that supply-chain disruptions are vexing sales. Hurricane Ida’s lingering impact is contributing to an already existing difficulty in obtaining raw materials, the Cleveland-based company said in a statement Wednesday. Third-quarter sales will be up or down by just a low single-digit percentage from the year-earlier period, compared with a prior expectation of as much as a high single-digit increase. The guidance for full-year sales and earnings per share remains unchanged. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Coinbase CEO takes on SEC

Coinbase Global Inc.’s chief executive blasted the Securities and Exchange Commission for “really sketchy behavior” after the company received a warning that regulators plan to sue. In a Twitter thread, CEO Brian Armstrong said the SEC would be creating an unfair market if it tries to shut down its new lending product, which would allow consumers to earn interest on their crypto holdings. Coinbase, the US’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, disclosed in a blog post that the SEC issued a Wells notice and opened a formal investigation. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Cathay Pacific fires unvaccinated crew

Cathay Pacific Airways said it decided to “part company with a small number of aircrew” who chose not to receive available vaccines and didn’t provide proof of any medical exemption. The Hong Kong-based carrier in June asked flight crew to be fully inoculated by the end of August or face having their employment reviewed, the South China Morning Post reported at the time. All of Cathay’s flights since Sept. 1 have been with fully vaccinated crew, the airline said in a statement Wednesday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Closure of Malaysian plants adds to supply chain problems

The Malaysian semiconductor firm Unisem Bhd. will shut some plants for seven days after three employees died recently from COVID-19, dealing a fresh blow to the chip supplies that carmakers and other companies rely on. The company said it will close Ipoh plants in the state of Perak until Sept. 15 to curb the spread of the disease, which chairman John Chia said had infected several employees and caused three deaths. The company will then limit the number of staff allowed into the facilities when they reopen. Unisem, which provides packaging and testing services, gets about 12 percent of its revenue from the auto sector, 28 percent from communications, and 30 percent from consumer segments. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Facebook blasts UK regulator over Giphy deal

Facebook slammed the UK’s antitrust regulator over its provisional call that the tech giant would have to sell all of Giphy to address competition concerns, setting up a bitter fight over the completed deal. Selling off the company that Facebook bought last year for $400 million would be “grossly unreasonable and disproportionate,” Facebook argued in a response to the Competition and Markets Authority’s concerns published on Wednesday. — BLOOMBERG NEWS