eBay Close to Acquiring StumbleUpon

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First reported here at TechCrunch on April 18, eBay is now said to be close to finalizing its deal to acquire StumbleUpon for $75 million, according to a new online report from the Wall Street Journal.

The high flying startup has been rumored to be in acquisition talks since November .

The Wall Street Journal report quotes an insider saying that no final agreement has been reached and that talks could still fail.

The StumbleUpon had 2.1 million users as of April, up from 1.7 million in December 2006. 4+ million sites are “stumbled” daily.

The purchase price of $75 million will make a tidy profit for investors who include Ram Shriram and Lotus Development Corp. founder Mitch Kapor: StumbleUpon has only raised $1.5 million in a single round of seed financing previously.

The $75 million is on the high side of our initial range of $40-$75 million. Was there another bidder? Did Google and AOL stake a claim only to be trumped by eBay?

If the deal is finalized it’s an interesting move by eBay. Paypal was core to eBay’s Auction business. Skype could be justified as a tie into the Auction business as well. So where does StumbleUpon sit? People “stumbling” from site to site with a business model the revolves around selling page views seems like an odd fit. A sign that eBay is looking to expand into new markets perhaps? Time will tell.

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