In 2012, Microsoft made an investment in Klout and began to integrate the startup’s social status information into Bing. Through the partnership, Klout scores appeared in Bing and Klout was able to use search data from Microsoft to help determine a person’s influence (in addition to tapping into other platforms like Twitter and Facebook).
In all, Klout had raised $40 million in funding from investors, including Microsoft, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the Mayfield Fund and CrunchFund, according to TechCrunch. Recode.net reported the possibility of the acquisition way back in February.
For Microsoft, the acquisition goes a little way in boosting its social media credibility, even though it has no homegrown network of its own. In addition to Klout, Microsoft’s other achievements in the space include owning a chunk of Facebook, and acquiring Skype and corporate social network Yammer.
Today’s deal is valued at nearly $200 million in both cash and Lithium stock, according to Fortune, so obviously this exit is fairly minor. But it could turn out to be worth even more for Microsoft if Lithium files for a public offering later this year as it is expected to do.
Exactly what Lithium has planned for Klout is unknown. Lithium plans to unveil new product details in May at its own conference.
Lithium works with companies, such as AT&T, Best Buy and Sephora, to engage with consumers through social networks, while Klout is better known for having a consumer-facing service. With Klout’s help, Lithium said, in a release, that the two companies will establish “one of the biggest data footprints of consumer attitudes, preferences and activities on digital channels.”