Exclusive - No, Conduit was not acquired for a billion dollars or more by Google or Microsoft … yet (although one executive suggested to me in a phone call this week that the company should, in fact, be worth about half of Facebook’s valuation on the private market – meaning about $35 billion at present day – because they reach about half of the social network’s audience).
We’ll see about that.
Either way, what’s really happening, according to solid sources close to the company, Conduit is in fact acquiring another Israeli startup in the Web app publishing and distribution space, namely Wibiya, and they added that the deal could close as early as next Monday or Tuesday.
According to those people, who are familiar with the negotiations, the transaction hasn’t been signed off yet and the deal could still fall through, although multiple sources I’ve spoken with are confident the acquisition will close soon.
I hear that the purchase price is roughly $45 million, which means the deal would give a solid return to both Wibiya’s founders and investors, who have pumped about $2.6 million into the company. Backers include Primera Capital, Yossi Vardi, Oded Vardi and Jeff Pulver.
If the acquisition closes, all 17 Wibiya employees are expected to join Conduit.
It is similar to what Conduit does, although Conduit is mostly known for its Web toolbars and web application marketplace. Complementarity seems to be the key word, here.
From what I’ve gathered about the company, Wibiya currently partners with publishers of about 120,000 websites, many of which are small ones, although its customer base also includes the likes of TheStreet.com, Playboy.com and Glam.com. In total, Wibiya is said to reach 200 million unique users, although that is to be taken with a grain of salt in my opinion (even Twitter reportedly boasts less active users than that).
Conduit partners with companies like Zynga, Fox, MLB and Time Warner Cable to reach about 230 million unique users, according to its own count. I should note that the company does seem to do extremely well even though those numbers seem to be inflated: it has raised less than $10 million since its founding in 2005 and boasts about 250 employees today.