eBay Acquiring StumbleUpon

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High-flying startup StumbleUpon has been rumored to be in acquisition discussions since at least last November. Recently we’ve heard that talks have heated up again, with Google, AOL and eBay as potential suitors. A source with knowledge of the deal now says the company has signed a term sheet with eBay to be acquired. The price is somewhere between $40 – $75 million. (update: GigaOm is now reporting the price at $40 – $45 million).

StumbleUpon lets users rate websites via a browser toolbar. At any time a user can click “Stumble!” and will be taken to a website highly rated by other StumbleUpon users who tend to vote in a similar way as the person “stumbling.” More often than not, it’s something almost serendipitously interesting to the reader. The company expanded into video referrals in late 2006.

People who are passionate about StumbleUpon say they like it because of the surprise factor in what they see next, and the fact that the product has such a high hit rate in delivering interesting new content. The StumbleUpon site says they have 2.1 million users, up from 1.7 million in December 2006. 4+ million sites are “stumbled” daily.

StumbleUpon has only raised a single $1.5 million round of seed financing.

Comscore says StumbleUpon had 6 million U.S. page views in March, doubling from the prior month. Unique visitors continue to rise dramatically: 900,000 in March, which is a 3x rise over the last year. Charts are below.

I’ve been unable to get confirmation, or even a comment, from the company or any of its investors. Frankly, they won’t even return phone calls (which also tells me a deal is brewing). But enough people close to the deal are talking. The facts are coming out.

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