InfoSpace’s unusual evolution continues with $287 million purchase of TaxACT

InfoSpace, the dot-com survivor that has pivoted multiple times throughout its 16-year history, is embarking on yet another voyage. The Bellevue company today announced the acquisition of TaxACT, the number two player in online tax preparation software. InfoSpace is paying $287.5 million for TaxACT, with plans to keep the company as a subsidiary operating out of… Read More

Photo: Mykl Roventine

Venture-backed IPO and M&A deals decline in 2011, but it’s not all bad news

There were some blockbuster deals in 2011, including Electronic Arts’ buyout of PopCap Games and Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype. But the number of M&A transactions and IPOs involving venture-backed companies declined compared to the previous year. According to Dow Jones VentureSource, corporate acquirers bought 460 companies during 2011, a 13 percent drop in M&A activity. But… Read More


MicroRNA startup Groove Biopharma scores $6 million

It’s been a bit slow in Seattle venture capital circles in the past few months. But some of the region’s leading biotech investors are doing their part to pick up the pace as Groove Biopharma today is announcing $6 million in second round of financing. Backers of the company, housed at the biotech business incubator… Read More


DOJ wants delay of AT&T case

U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle said today she is considering a request by the DOJ to dismiss or postpone the antitrust case involving AT&T’s $39 billion bid for T-Mobile USA. “We don’t have any confidence that we are spending all this time and effort and the taxpayers money and that we’re not being spun,”… Read More


Looking to salvage bid, AT&T may seek buyer for up to 40 percent of T-Mobile’s assets

Facing U.S. government roadblocks, AT&T is considering selling up to 40 percent of T-Mobile’s assets in order to preserve its massive bid for the Bellevue carrier, reports Bloomberg News. That’s a far higher percentage than what had been contemplated in the past, signaling AT&T’s desire to own T-Mobile, even at significant costs. Analysts say that… Read More


Kindle rival Kobo sells for $315M to Japanese e-commerce giant

Kobo, the 2-year-old Canadian maker of electronic reading devices, has been sold for $315 million in cash to Japan’s Rakuten. Toronto-based Kobo — a spin-out of Indigo — raised $50 million in April. In addition to Indigo, Kobo was backed by Cheung Kong Holdings. “Kobo provides one of the world’s most communal eBook reading experiences… Read More


Social media agency Spring Creek acquired by Mediabrands

Spring Creek Group, a five-year-old social media agency, has been acquired by Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands unit for an undisclosed price. Co-founded by Clay McDaniel, Spring Creek’s clients include Microsoft, HTC, US Bank and LiveNation. Mediabrands plans to retain the Spring Creek name, and its 35 employees are all moving to Mediabrands. McDaniel writes in a… Read More


WPP’s Kantar unit buys Global Market Insite

Kantar, a unit of advertising giant WPP, has purchased Bellevue-based Global Market Insite for an undisclosed price and merged it with online market research firm Lightspeed Research. Together, the companies said that they will “create one of the world’s largest online panel and sample providers.” As a result of the deal, David Day of Lightspeed… Read More


Digital Chocolate finds a sweet deal, gobbles up Sandlot Games

There’s been quite a bit of M&A activity in recent weeks in the casual gaming industry, highlighted by Electronic Arts’ blockbuster buy of PopCap Games. But now a smaller Seattle area gaming company has found a good match. Sandlot Games, the maker of of Cake Mania, Super Granny and Tradewinds, has been acquired for an… Read More


California casts wary eye on AT&T’s $39 billion bid for T-Mobile

California is taking a close look at AT&T’s $39 billion bid for T-Mobile, with Bloomberg News reporting that the state’s Public Utilities Commission has held seven public discussions about the proposed buyout. According to Bloomberg, the state is particularly interested in how the tie-up would impact consumers and corporate customers. Some have argued that T-Mobile… Read More


Market Leader makes a buy, gobbles up SharperAgent

Market Leader today announced the purchase of SharperAgent, a Denver company that helps real estate agents roll out print and email marketing campaigns. SharperAgent, and its staff of 25, plans to remain in Colorado as a result of the deal. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. “SharperAgent is recognized as the leader in providing… Read More


Sony takes a big swing, buys game maker Sucker Punch

It probably doesn’t come with a price tag in the billions. But another Seattle area gaming studio has been sold. This time, it is Sucker Punch Productions and the buyer is Sony Computer Entertainment. The acquisition, terms of which were not disclosed, follows news last month that Electronic Arts plans to gobble up PopCap Games… Read More


Photo sharing service Smilebox sells for up to $40 million

Smilebox, the six-year-old Redmond company that lets users create electronic greetings with their photos and videos, has agreed to be sold to Tel Aviv, Israel-based IncrediMail Ltd. for up to $40 million. The deal includes $25 million in upfront cash, and another $15 million if certain milestones are met. No big changes are expected as… Read More


Benaroya backs smart grid software startup Calico Energy

Calico Energy has developed technologies to help residential and business customers reduce energy costs, a proposition that’s winning the Bellevue company fans with venture capitalists. The company has landed a $2.5 million, led by The Benaroya Company. In April, we reported on Point B Capital investing in the upstart, and Benaroya’s involvement to the tune of… Read More


Microsoft buying Skype? Yep, it would make a lot of sense

The Wall Street Journal just added some major fuel to the rumors about Microsoft and Skype, reporting that the Redmond company could announce a deal to buy the iconic Internet communications company for somewhere between $7 billion and $8 billion as early as tomorrow. At that price, it would be the largest acquisition in Microsoft’s… Read More