Small Talk: World Cup fever gives Blinkx a chance to shine

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The World Cup started on Friday, in case anyone missed it, and the national appetite for the competition has seen every consumer company attempt to jump on the band wagon rolling by. The subsequent deluge of advertising has ranged from the good (Nike and Puma) to the excruciating (pretty much all the others).

Football fans are keen consumers of everything to do with their sport, and the internet has only served to feed their desire for content.

One company that should do well out of the football fever is Aim-listed video search engine Blinkx, fresh from landmark financial results released recently.

This weekend it looked to build on the excitement of the World Cup by launching a dedicated channel. Blinkx founder Suranga Chandratillake told Small Talk: "The consumption of sport content online is gathering pace, so much more so than even the last World Cup. At the moment it isn't a big driver of traffic to the site, but it will be. If it is on offer there will be huge demand."

Blinkx is different to YouTube in that users do not upload content directly. Instead it's whizzy software searches the web for video on other sites. It was set up in 2004, spinning out of Autonomy, the FTSE 100 software group. The group developed a search engine following research at Cambridge University which can search speech and analyse video content.

The group reported in May that revenues had risen from $13.9m to $33.6m in its last financial year, flagging particularly that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation went positive in the second half. It also broke into the top 10 of comScore and Nielsen's top 10 video sites. It is also developing a mobile presence. Blinkx makes its money from advertising and has been looking at alternative ways to boost revenues. Mr Chandratillake added that while it had mulled introducing subscription and pay-per-view models, the group was to stick to its traditional model for now. Sports will help Blinkx's performance, but its search engine may struggle with the volume of "Robert Green" and "blunder" searches.



Akers

Akers, a diagnostics company based in New Jersey, the US's Garden State, is likely to please its investors today.

The Aim-listed group will announce a significant distribution deal for one of its tests, at a stroke more than doubling the sales personnel selling the flagship product and taking it to almost all of America's 8,800 hospitals. Company sources said this could be the breakthrough the test needed.

The group specialises in a product designed to test whether patients facing surgery are allergic to a blood thinning drug called Heparin, which is made from pig's intestines. About 12 million patients are administered the drug each year. If a patient is allergic the reaction can actually cause blood clots which could be life threatening.

Akers said its Pifa Heparin/PFA Rapid Assay test was designed to be faster and more accurate than the rival products on the market. At the moment four million tests are carried out each year, in what is a slow and laborious process that needs lab time. Akers' results are produced in minutes. Akers, whose biggest shareholder is Legal & General with over 12 per cent, already has a deal with Cardinal, one of the US's two largest distributors. Today it has landed the other, Fisher HealthCare, a subsidiary of Thermo Fisher.

Expectations are high; should Akers' product replace half the current tests in America, it would be worth more than $100m a year. With the share price down at year lows, the group will be hoping this deal gives the stock a significant lift.



Gold Mining Company

Gold Mining Company (GMG) comes to market today with a listing on Plus after raising £820,000 with a placing of 37 million new ordinary shares. The group does what it says on the tin, with a strategy to target investments and acquisitions in the gold and precious metals sectors. The proposed investments may be directly in a project or indirectly through partnerships, joint ventures or either quoted or unquoted companies.

GMC director Greg Kuenzel, who has worked at Aim-listed resource groups over the past four years including Atlantic Coal, said the float "offers shareholders an ideal opportunity to gain exposure to the buoyant gold and precious metals sectors".

The group is hardly limiting its horizons, with a "primary geographic focus" on assets in Europe, North America, the former Soviet Union, Africa, Latin America and Australasia. So, everywhere but Asia and the north and south poles then. It has already identified opportunities and said the listing should help secure its initial investments.

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