IAC "Very Close" To Acquiring Flixster

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Daily Crunch: Come Hither Edition

In late October we reported on well placed rumors that IAC was in talks to acquire movie-centered social network Flixster. Those discussions reportedly stalled, likely over IAC’s preferred deal structure (partial buyout with an option for the rest) and/or Flixster’s declining traffic and visitor count.

Now perhaps, those discussions are back on track. One source says the deal is done. Another says the parties have been in serious discussions over the last couple of weeks and are “very close,” but no deal has been closed. Both agree the price is over the $150 million being discussed last year, and may be as high as $200 million or more. The deal is being structured as a cash plus earnout transaction.

Flixster had an up and down year in 2007. They started off strong (“growing like a weed“) and have grown to 43 million user home pages. Traffic grew to 12 million unique worldwide visitors and 358 million page views in May. But it has fallen since then. In November, Flixster had just 8.2 million visitors and 139 million page views (source: Comscore). Over 1.2 billion movie reviews have been written by users.

Those declining visitor and page view numbers don’t seem to be a concern to IAC, according to our sources. They just like the company and its loyal users.

Flixster, based in San Francisco, raised $2 million in funding in February 2007 from Lightspeed Ventures and a number of angel investors.

I’m expecting to hear more news in the next couple of weeks. With the current information we’ve received, I put a over-under on a deal getting done with IAC at about 66%.

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