Apple acquisition


'Apple acquisition' Articles

Apple Acquired Firmware Security Company LegbaCore Last November

Apple acquired firmware security company LegbaCore in November 2015, according to security researcher Trammell Hudson, who revealed the acquisition in his presentation at the 32C3 conference in December. LegbaCore's goal, according to founder Xeno Kovah, is "to help build systems that are as secure as we know how to make." In November, Kovah and fellow LegbaCore founder Corey Kallenberg revealed that they had joined Apple as full-time employees. Just a couple days before that, LegbaCore's website announced that it would "not be accepting any new customer engagements", noting that the website would remain up "to serve as a reference for LegbaCore's past work." LegbaCore had collaborated with Hudson on Thunderstrike 2, the first firmware worm to affect Mac computers. The malware is impossible to remove, resistant to both firmware and software updates. LegbaCore and Hudson had alerted Apple to Thunderstrike 2's vulnerabilities and Apple began work on fixes, issuing one in June 2015. On Twitter, Kovah said that Apple began discussions with LegbaCore after the consultancy's presentation in summer 2015. It soon became clear to Kovah and Kallenberg that Apple had "some *very* interesting and highly impactful work" that the two could participate in. They were eventually convinced to wind down LegbaCore's existing contracts and begin work at Apple. What did Apple hire us to do? We can’t say. :) Well, we can probably say something like “low level security” (I don’t know our job titles)— Xeno Kovah (@XenoKovah) November 10, 2015 While LegbaCore is a security consultancy

Apple Has Secret Team Working on Virtual Reality Headset

Apple has expanded its research efforts in virtual and augmented reality, building out a large team that is experimenting with headsets and other technologies, reports Financial Times in a detailed post on the company's virtual reality work that covers recent hires and acquisitions. Hundreds of employees are part of a "secret research unit" exploring AR and VR, with the team consisting of experts hired through acquisitions and poached from Microsoft and Lytro, the company that developed the Immerge, a Light Field power camera able to blend live action and computer graphics for a live action VR experience. Apple has also hired Doug Bowman, said to be one of the leading virtual reality experts in the United States. In addition to recent AR/VR-related acquisitions Metaio, Faceshift, and Emotient, Apple has also just purchased Flyby Media, a startup that worked on augmented reality technologies. Flyby Media created an app that worked with Google's "Project Tango" smartphone with 3D sensors, allowing messages to be attached to real world objects that were then viewable by one of Google's devices. Most notably, Apple's AR/VR team is said to have built prototype virtual reality headsets that are similar to the Oculus Rift and the Hololens from Microsoft. Multiple prototypes of "possible headset configurations" have been created in recent months, with Apple's interest reportedly inspired by the Oculus Rift. It is not clear if and when Apple's work on a headset prototype will make it past the development stage into an actual product, and the company often secretly

Apple Acquires Education Analytics Company LearnSprout

Apple has purchased education-technology startup LearnSprout, reports Bloomberg. LearnSprout is a company that develops software for schools and teachers to track student performance and other metrics. Apple will likely use its technology to build out its classroom tools to encourage schools to adopt iPads and other Apple products. Apple confirmed the acquisition with the standard statement it gives on purchases: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." According to its website, LearnSprout software is already used in more than 2,500 schools across the United States. It aggregates all student grades across the school, letting teachers and administrators hone in on students that may need more help. LearnSprout aims to allow schools to analyze collected data, discovering trends on attendance, college readiness, student health, and more. To combat waning iPad sales, Apple has been making an effort to make the tablet more appealing to educational customers. In iOS 9.3, Apple is introducing a wealth of new education-oriented tools, including shared iPads for students, a dedicated Classroom app that allows teachers to guide students through app-based lessons, an Apple School Manager for easily managing student accounts and courses, and new Apple ID creation and management options for

Apple Acquires Artificial Intelligence Startup Perceptio

Apple has purchased Perceptio, a small startup focused on artificial intelligence, reports Bloomberg. Founded by Nicolas Pinto and Zak Stone, Perceptio was developing technology that would let smartphone companies create advanced artificial intelligence systems "without needing to share as much user data" in the cloud. Perceptio's goals were to develop techniques to run AI image-classification systems on smartphones, without having to draw from large external repositories of data. That fits Apple's strategy of trying to minimize its usage of customer data and do as much processing as possible on the device.According to Bloomberg, both Stone and Pinto are established artificial intelligence researchers who specialize in creating image-recognition systems using deep learning. There's little information available about Perceptio, but Re/code profiled the company last year. The duo were working on privacy-based artificial intelligence, figuring out how to run complex neural network algorithms on smartphones. Before being acquired by Apple, they were working on facial recognition technology and had released an unrelated video sharing app called Smoothie. Apple confirmed the purchase with its standard acquisition statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Apple's Siri personal assistant has lagged behind competing services like Google Now and Microsoft Cortana because of Apple's strict privacy policies and its reluctance to collect and utilize user data. It's possible the purchase of

Apple Acquires Speech Technology Startup VocalIQ

Apple has purchased VocalIQ, a startup located in the United Kingdom that has developed a natural language API to allow computers and people to have a more natural dialogue, reports Financial Times. According to VocalIQ's website, the company has developed a self-learning dialogue API built on 10 years of natural language research, belief tracking, decision making, and message generation. It's not always clear how Apple uses the technology from companies that it purchases, but with this acquisition, it's likely Apple will use the API to improve its voice-based personal assistant, Siri. Financial Times also believes Apple could use the technology for its upcoming car project, as VocalIQ specialized in in-car applications among other things. While VocalIQ's speech processing and machine learning technology could be incorporated into devices from wearables to the connected home, the company was particularly focused on in-car applications. This included a collaboration with General Motors. In a blog earlier this year, VocalIQ described how a "conversational voice-dialog system" in a car's navigation system could prevent drivers from becoming distracted by looking at screens. Its "self- learning" technology allows "real conversation between human and the internet of things", VocalIQ wrote.VocalIQ has criticized Siri in a past blog post, calling the virtual assistant a "toy" unable to understand context. The difference between VocalIQ's system and traditional speech-recognition services like Siri and Cortana is its ability to learn. The reason for this state of affairs

Apple Acquires Mapping Visualization Startup Mapsense

Apple has purchased mapping startup Mapsense, reports Re/code. Mapsense is a San Francisco-based startup that's able to sort through massive geotagged datasets to create quick geographical visualizations of location-based data points that can be embedded into apps. According to its website, Mapsense built a cloud-based high-speed mapping engine that could ingest and index huge amounts of data with "lightning fast" search and filtering and simple visual analysis tools. There are over 10 billion devices on the planet streaming location data on a daily basis. While collecting location data has become mainstream, the traditional tools to visualize, understand, and harness it have been hampered by the speed and scale of this massive and complex new datasource. Mapsense's platform and developer tools help organizations quickly ingest and analyze billions of rows of location data to make more intelligent, locally targeted business decisions across the organization.Apple is said to have paid between $25 and $30 million for Mapsense, and its 12-person team will join Apple. Apple confirmed the acquisition to Re/code with its standard acquisition statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." It is not clear what Apple will use the Mapsense technology for, but this is just one of a long line of mapping companies Apple has purchased to improve its Maps app. Over the past several years, Apple has purchased companies like HopStop, Coherent Navigation, Locationary, WifiSLAM, Embark, and Broadmap.

Apple Purchases Augmented Reality Startup Metaio

Apple recently acquired augmented reality startup Metaio, reports TechCrunch. According to the company's website, Metaio is a "pioneer in augmented reality and computer vision" that built the Metaio Creator, an augmented reality authoring tool. With the Creator, users could create augmented reality scenarios "within minutes." Metaio has stopped taking new customers and a shareholder document concerning the transferring of shares has confirmed that it was purchased by Apple. Apple also provided TechCrunch with its standard acquisition confirmation statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans." Metaio's augmented reality tools have been used by several companies to create interactive experiences. Ferarri, for example, created an augmented reality showroom with Metaio, and it's been used in Berlin with historical footage to let travelers see what the scene they're viewing would have looked like when the Berlin Wall was still in place. It is not clear how Apple plans to use Metaio's technology, but there have been persistent rumors indicating Apple is interested in virtual reality and augmented reality. Based on patents, Apple has explored a video headset, a motion-sensing virtual 3D interface for iOS devices, and 3D "hyper-reality" displays. It's possible that Apple could use Metaio's AR creation tools to introduce unique features to Maps and other apps. A 2014 rumor suggested Apple was considering adding augmented reality features to Maps, and a more recent rumor points towards

Apple Appears to Have Acquired GPS Firm Coherent Navigation [Confirmed]

In one of its latest efforts to bolster its mapping capabilities, Apple appears to have acquired Coherent Navigation, a Bay Area GPS-related firm founded in 2008 by engineers from Stanford and Cornell. One of Coherent Navigation's areas of focus was High Integrity GPS ("iGPS"), a system that combines signals from the traditional mid-earth orbit GPS satellites with those from the low-earth satellites of voice and data provider Iridium to offer greater accuracy and precision, higher signal integrity, and greater jam resistance. Iridium touts iGPS as having the potential to provide location information accurate to within centimeters. A number of Coherent's key employees recently began working for Apple, including tech veteran and CEO Paul Lego in January and co-founders William Bencze and Brent Ledvina as of last month. Coherent's website has also been taken offline, but on April 30 the name servers for the domain were updated to point to Apple's servers. It is unclear exactly what the Coherent Navigation team is working on at Apple and whether there was a specific technology Apple was interested in or if it simply wanted to apply the expertise of Coherent's employees to its own projects. Lego simply notes that he is now a member of Apple's Maps team, while Ledvina and Bencze are working in similar location engineering roles. Coherent Navigation would be just the latest in a long string of mapping-related acquisitions Apple has made over the last several years, including the developers behind Pin Drop, Locationary, WifiSLAM, Hopstop, Embark, and Broadmap. Apple

A Look at LinX Camera Technology That Could Appear in Future iOS Devices

Apple's recent acquisition of LinX Imaging is one of the company's more exciting acquisitions in the last several months, as the technology being developed by LinX could lead to some significant improvements in camera quality in future iOS devices. Given the significance of the purchase, we wanted to take a deeper look at LinX's technology and what it could do for future iPhone photography. No More Protruding Camera LinX specializes in multi-aperture cameras for mobile devices, which offer several benefits over single aperture cameras, including the ability to pack impressive image quality in a smaller size. With a multi-aperture camera, LinX is able to take advantage of several smaller sensors rather than one large sensor, preventing the camera from needing a longer lens. The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus were equipped with protruding lenses so Apple didn't have to sacrifice image quality for thinness, but it's possible Apple could shrink the length of the camera in future iOS devices with LinX technology, resulting in a flush rear exterior. According to LinX, the use of multiple sensors over a single large sensor let it shrink the height of its camera device by a factor of 1.4 to 2. Comparatively, one of LinX's dual-aperture cameras was described by the company as "significantly" thinner than the iPhone 5s camera and able to "fit in a device thinner than the iPhone." SLR Image Quality LinX announced the launch of its most recent mobile-ready multi-aperture camera in June of last year, and in documentation [PDF], the company highlighted the many ways in

Apple Acquires Israeli Camera Tech Company LinX Imaging for ~$20 Million

Apple has purchased Israeli camera technology company LinX Imaging for approximately $20 million, reports The Wall Street Journal. LinX specializes in creating multi-aperture camera equipment for mobile devices and it's possible that Apple will use the company's technology in upcoming iOS devices. Last year, LinX announced the launch of miniature multi-aperture cameras half the height of standard mobile cameras with the ability to create "stunning color images and high accuracy depth maps" for SLR image quality without the bulk of an SLR camera. The image quality of mobile cameras has reached a dead end. Device makers are striving to differentiate using imaging capabilities but the pixel size race has ended and next generation cameras do not reveal any dramatic improvements. LinX cameras revolutionize mobile photography and broaden the usability span and user experience, allowing us to leave our SLRs at home. The engineers at LinX have solved all problems associated with combining multiple images captured from different points in space such as registration errors and occlusion related artifacts which are seen on competing technologies.LinX's technology uses software to extract depth information for each pixel to create a depth map for that can also be used for 3D image reconstruction. LinX's website is now defunct, but the company offered products with two, three, and four camera arrays in multiple configurations and sizes. Its most recent technology was downscaled enough to be ready for use in mobile devices. LinX technology includes several other

Apple Acquired Keyboard Startup 'Dryft' in 2014

Over the last few weeks, several previously unknown Apple acquisitions have surfaced. In March, Bloomberg shared news of the company's purchase of data analytics firm Acunu, and earlier this week, TechCrunch reported that Apple had acquired search technology startup Ottocat in 2013. TechCrunch has now shared news of another acquisition that happened in 2014 -- the purchase of Dryft, a startup that specialized in creating keyboard apps. Dryft chief technology officer Randy Marsden, who also co-founded Swype, is listed as an "iOS Keyboard Manager" that joined Apple in September of 2014, suggesting the acquisition may have occurred around that date. Dryft's technology was a keyboard that appeared only on the screen when a user placed a finger on the display, and as described by TechCrunch, it's "essentially a keyboard for tablets that tracks your fingers' movements," meaning it appears wherever your fingers are placed on the screen. It is not clear if Apple plans to incorporate this specific technology into iOS or if it made the purchase of Dryft to acquire the company's employees to work on other keyboard features. As of iOS 8, Apple's operating system supports keyboards created by third-party developers, but the company has continued work on its own keyboard. iOS 8 brought keyboard improvements like QuickType, which offers word predictions to speed up typing. Apple confirmed the acquisition to TechCrunch with its standard purchase statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or

Explore Feature in App Store Powered by 'Ottocat' Technology Apple Acquired in 2013

While most Apple acquisitions become public knowledge shortly after they happen, there are acquisitions that go largely under the radar until months or years afterwards. TechCrunch has recently learned of one such acquisition, which may have happened in 2013. Apple is said to have purchased Ottocat, a small startup specializing in search technology. Ottocat's technology is said to be behind the "Explore" app discovery function in the App Store. The Explore tab in the iOS App Store lets users find apps in different categories plus nearby apps. TechCrunch has learned that Apple quietly bought a startup called Ottocat some time ago, which had developed a system to organize and surface apps on the app store based on "nested" categories of increasing specificity. A version of that system now powers the "explore" tab in Apple's app store.According to TechCrunch, though there's little evidence on LinkedIn to suggest the acquisition happened, Ottocat co-founder Edwin Cooper was the author of a patent that was granted to Apple, which Cooper appears to have filed as an Apple employee. The patent, "System and Method for Divisive Textual Clustering by Label Selection Using Variant-Weighted TFDIF," which is related to the App Store's explore feature. TechCrunch has some information on how Ottocat worked, explaining that its technology aimed to introduce categories for better app discovery to assist users looking to find apps in specific areas when they didn't have an app in mind to search for, which sounds very similar to what the Explore feature in the App Store does. Ottoc

Apple Secretly Acquired Data Analytics Firm Acunu

Just a day after Apple acquired database company FoundationDB, Bloomberg reveals Apple had previously acquired U.K.-based data analytics company Acunu. The acquisition appeared to have happened in late 2013. The purchase of the Vienna, Virginia-based software maker follows a deal for closely held Acunu Ltd., a U.K.-based data analysis company, Apple said.Acunu creates technology that provides analytics on databases, and its technology can be used in conjunction with other tools, improving their performance. Bloomberg notes the company's tools work well with free Cassandra databases, which Apple runs on several thousand computers. It's likely that the Acunu acquisition will be used for iCloud and its various services, like iTunes Radio, the upcoming reimagined Beats Music streaming service and Apple's over-the-air TV service. Acunu Chief Technology Officer Tim Moreton began working in Apple's iCloud division in December 2013, and other Acunu employees made the jump to the Cupertino company in early

Apple Acquires 'Rock-Solid High-Performance' Database Company FoundationDB

Apple has acquired database company FoundationDB, reports TechCrunch. FoundationDB is a company that "develops scalable and fault tolerant databases that support multiple data models." A notice on the company's site says that it has ceased to offer downloads after deciding to "evolve [the] company mission." According to TechCrunch, FoundationDB may have been an attractive purchase for Apple due to its ability to handle ACID-compliant transactions quickly and its strong scalability. A company blog post suggested it could achieve 54 billion writes per hour at a cost-per-write of 3 nanodollars. FoundationDB's attractiveness came in the speed at which it handled ACID-compliant transactions and coupled that with strong scalability. FoundationDB hosted a booth at TechCrunch Disrupt 2012, where we first wrote about its approach to a modern NoSQL database and its 'NoSQL, YesACID' motto. FoundationDB's latest engine, which was covered by TC Columnist Jon Evans late last year, scaled up 14.4 million random writes per second.TechCrunch describes FoundationDB as a "fast, affordable and durable database company" that may have been acquired to boost Apple's server-side technologies for the App Store, iTunes Connect, iTunes in the Cloud, or another service. Apple confirmed the acquisition with the standard statement that it gives on purchases: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or

Apple Acquires Popular Instrument and Effect Plug-In Maker Camel Audio [Updated]

Apple appears to have acquired popular music plug-in and effect maker Camel Audio, based on information found on corporate registry site Companies House [PDF]. Camel Audio's address has been updated to 100 New Bridge Street, which is Apple's London address, and the company's sole director is now listed as Apple lawyer Heather Joy Morrison, suggesting the company is in the possession of Apple. Camel Audio is known for its range of plug-ins, synthesizers, effects, and sound libraries, which were available via the company's Alchemy software. Previously available for $249, Alchemy included more than 1000 sounds, 5.5GB worth of samples, a powerful additive resynthesis engine, spectral resynthesis, a virtual analog synthesizer, and more. Its powerful engine was highly useful to those who liked to create and manipulate audio for unique sounds. Camel Audio first shut its doors on January 8, 2015, removing all access to its software from its website. At the time, the company did not divulge why it had suddenly ceased selling its content, but Camel Audio fans speculated about a potential takeover.We would like to thank you for the support we've received over the years in our efforts to create instruments and effects plug-ins and sound libraries. Camel Audio's plug-ins, Alchemy Mobile IAPs and sound libraries are no longer available for purchase. We will continue to provide downloads of your previous purchases and email support until July 7, 2015. We recommend you download all of your purchases and back them up so that you can continue to use them (Instructions: How to

Apple Acquires Media Analytics Company Semetric Ahead of Beats Music Relaunch

Apple has acquired British media analytics company Semetric and will look to roll in the company's Musicmetric tracking service into its relaunch of Beats Music later this year, reports The Guardian. In documents filed with Companies House earlier in January, Semetric’s registered address was changed to 100 New Bridge Street in London – the office of law firm Baker & McKenzie, which is also the registered address of Apple Europe Limited. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plan,” said Apple in a statement provided to the Guardian, although Semetric declined to comment. First launched in 2008, Musicmetric is known for its expansive tracking of music sales, downloads, and social networking statistics for artists and labels. In 2013, the startup also struck a deal with streaming service Spotify to integrate its data into Musicmetric's profiles for users. Last year, it was reported that Apple would be revamping the Beats Music streaming service for 2015, and was even said to be pushing for an industry-leading $5 monthly subscription cost. Apple could look to offer musicians and music labels a way to track their iTunes and social networking statistics with Musicmetric, although both companies have yet to specify their plans.

Apple May Have Acquired iPad Publishing Platform Prss [Update: Confirmed]

Apple may have acquired Prss, a Dutch-based company that created a web app aimed to help people design magazines for Apple's Newsstand and other magazine platforms, reports iCulture [Google Translation]. While there is no solid proof of the acquisition at this point, iCulture suggests that an inside source has revealed the purchase and Prss co-founder Michel Elings recently moved to the Bay Area.The Dutch magazine platform Prss was acquired by Apple for an undisclosed amount. This discovery iCulture thanks to a knowledgeable source. This source confirms that several employees of Prss now employed by Apple. Several other former Prss employees are also now located in the Bay Area according to their LinkedIn profiles, suggesting an acquisition might have taken place in the summer months. Prss announced in April that it would be shutting down in July, and the Prss website is now non-functional. Prss was known for creating a browser-based collaborative tool that could be used to design magazines for Apple's Newsstand. The tool included a simple drag-and-drop interface and let up to 30 people collaborate on a project, with the team charging 5 cents per magazine download for published content. iCulture is unsure what role the Prss team will take on at Apple, but suggests the acquisition might have been about talent rather than product. As noted by the site, however, Apple could adopt Prss's publishing platform, making it much simpler for people to publish iPad magazines. Update: Apple has confirmed the purchase of Prss, giving TechCrunch its standard acquisition

Apple Acquired 'Pandora for Books' Startup BookLamp In April

Apple has acquired BookLamp, a "Pandora for books" startup that aimed to provide personalized book recommendations to readers via specialized algorithms, reports TechCrunch. BookLamp first shut down in April. BookLamp was known for its Book Genome project, a book discovery engine that analyzed the text of books to break them down by various themes and variables to let readers search for books similar to books they liked. For example, analyzing The Da Vinci Code, the search engine would break it down to elements of 18.6% Religion and Religions Institutions, 9.4% Police & Murder Investigation, 8.2% Art and Art Galleries, and 6.7% Secret Societies and Communities, and then it would be able to recommend a book similar to The Da Vinci Code based on that data. BookLamp screenshot via Mashable This type of analytics service could be directly used to improve recommendations and search in iBooks, and as noted by TechCrunch, BookLamp's technology could be used to create a competitor to Amazon X-Ray, which lets readers see where in the book certain terms or characters appear. BookLamp also provided content analysis services to a number of e-book distributors like Amazon, Apple, and other publishers, screening books for categorization and providing a platform for publishers to screen manuscripts. The acquisition will see Apple ramping up its focus on books, according to one source with knowledge of the acquisition.Part of the reason that Apple made the move to acquire BookLamp was because of this long list of clients. "At first Apple and BookLamp talked about growing

Apple Acquired 29 Companies Since Beginning of Fiscal 2014, Including Five Since April

During today's third quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple has purchased a total of 29 companies over the course of the last nine months, including five new companies after the end of the March quarter. Of the 29 companies purchased, some are known but many remain unknown. Only two of Apple's newest acquisitions have been revealed, including LuxVue Technology in early May Spotsetter in June, leaving three unknown acquisitions. The May acquisition of Beats was not counted in the 29 company total because the deal, which was Apple's most expensive purchase to date, doesn't close until this quarter. After the Beats deal closes, the total number of acquisitions will rise to 30. Earlier in 2014, Apple acquired SnappyLabs, a company that produced a burst-mode photo app, and Burstly, the company behind the Testflight iOS beta testing platform. Many of the other acquisitions were made in 2013, and those purchases focused heavily on mapping. 2013 acquisitions included mapping companies BroadMap, Embark, HopStop, Locationary, and WiFiSlam, along with other notable additions like 3D company PrimeSense and Novauris, a speech recognition company. The technology from Apple's acquisitions will undoubtedly make its way into future products and updates. For example, significant mapping updates are expected sometime after the launch of iOS 8, adding transit directions and improved indoor mapping techniques. During the company's April earnings call, Tim Cook said Apple was "on the prowl" for additional companies to acquire and in today's call, Cook

Apple Acquired 24 Companies Over Last 18 Months, 'We're On The Prowl' for More

During today's second quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple has purchased a total of 24 companies over the last 18 months, some that are known and some that remain unknown. Just over half of Apple’s acquisitions have come to light, which means the company has purchased a number of additional companies that have not been disclosed. So far in 2014, Apple acquired SnappyLabs, a company that produced a burst-mode photo app, and Burstly, the company behind the Testflight iOS beta testing platform. 2013 saw Apple acquire several different mapping apps, including BroadMap, Embark, HopStop, Locationary, and WiFiSlam, along with other notable additions like 3D company PrimeSense and Novauris, a speech recognition company. Back in October, Tim Cook noted Apple had completed 15 strategic acquisitions in 2013, pointing towards a number of new acquisitions already in 2014. The technology from Apple’s acquisitions will likely make its way into future products and updates. For example, all of the mapping acquisitions are expected to be put to use in iOS 8, which will see the addition of transit directions and possibly improved indoor mapping techniques. During the call, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that investing in research and development along with hardware, software, and services were top priorities, and that the company was "on the prowl" for new companies to