Tuesday, April 21, 2015

HP sells Snapfish - cites "focus"

My three-year-old post comparing Facebook/Instagram to HP/Snapfish
In one of the more anticlimactic business stories of recent times, today the long-rumored disposition by HP of its Snapfish "global photo storage and merchandising business", was made official, via press release. With HP set to separate into two entities later this year, the intent to divest Snapfish bubbled up last fall and Julie Bort of Business Insider (see "After years of trying to sell Snapfish, HP finally finds a buyer"points as far back as early 2013 and indications of interests then in unloading the unit, originally acquired for $300 million in 2005. Bort also describes Snapfish as "an oddball unit" as no doubt many in the industry would see it, in the light of the tech world as we know it in 2015. Even HP, in its own release, cites the sale to District Photo as "consistent with HP’s strategy to focus the organization following HP’s previously announced separation" -- in other words, it was an oddball unit.

Three years ago, the big acquisition news was Facebook and its $1-Billion buy of Instagram (later dwarfed by its much-larger acquisition of WhatsApp.) I penned a post comparing that digital-imaging deal to another digital-imaging deal, in 2005, i.e. HP-Snapfish, where an established but somewhat aging tech titan buys a much younger upstart in an effort to "get into the game" as being played by the new kids on the block. (See graphic above.) That post was "What a Difference Seven Years Makes! Facebook Acquires Instagram – a $1 Billion Imaging-Related Transaction" and to follow up that headline with today's news, one might state that given three more years, there's even more of a difference!

While at one time Snapfish was an HP "darling", leading to some serious feather-ruffling of huge Indigo-press customer and Snapfish rival Shutterfly, its status has certainly diminished rather steadily, compared to, as Bort points out, a time back when "people really printed a lot of photos."

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