Late on Tuesday night, the news broke on the Wall Street Journal's Web site that publishing empire Hearst Corp. has made plans to acquire Kaboodle, a social shopping site that launched last year and now draws in over two million unique visitors per month. Like rivals ThisNext and StyleHive, Kaboodle lets members recommend and learn about new products through compiling lists; it also connects users who have similar shopping tastes.
Hearst and Kaboodle issued a joint press release on Wednesday morning announcing the acquisition deal. "With its impressive technology, tools and audience, Kaboodle is a natural overlap for Hearst Magazines," Cathleen P. Black, president of Hearst Magazines, said in the statement. "We think Kaboodle has terrific potential for many of our brands, especially in the fashion, beauty and consumer technology categories. Our readers will be able to find the products featured in our magazines, shop electronically with their friends and get their feedback. It's another means for making sure our readers stay engaged in today's saturated media landscape."
Kaboodle will become a property of Hearst Interactive Media and Hearst Magazines Digital Media. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but blog reports have suggested that it's as much as $40 million.
Journalists and bloggers have been quick to note that recent months have seen a sizeable number of Internet start-up acquisitions (and rumors thereof) by large media companies, many of which are headquartered in New York or Los Angeles rather than Mountain View or Redmond. In May, finance news video blog Wallstrip was purchased by CBS Interactive and media-sharing site Photobucket was acquired by News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media; more recently, environmental blog TreeHugger was acquired by Discovery Communications, and the latest rumor is that social bookmarking site Clipmarks is in the midst of a deal with Forbes.
GigaOm's Om Malik noted on Tuesday night that "from a Silicon Valley perspective, emergence of buyers outside of the G-Y-M (Google, Yahoo, Microsoft) triumvirate is a good thing."