Yahoo! is offering to purchase social email startup Xobni for $30 million to $40 million, according to AllThingsD’s sources. If the deal goes through, Xobni would be the latest acquisition by Yahoo! as CEO Marissa Meyer seeks to boost the company’s talent roster and product offerings.
Xobni’s social email plugin automatically creates a profile for each contact with correspondence history and data pulled from social networks including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Skype and Hoovers. The San Francisco-based startup began with a Microsoft Outlook plugin and now supports Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Apple’s iCloud, in addition to its Smartr Contacts apps for Android and iOS.
The deal makes sense for Yahoo! because it would enable the Internet giant to add a competitive edge to its email products. Furthermore, the startup already has strong ties with Yahoo!: Yahoo! co-founder David Filo previously worked with Xobni CEO Jeff Bonforte, who in turn was once vice president of social search and real-time communications at Yahoo!.
In addition to the whopping $1.1 billion Yahoo! paid to acquire Tumblr, the company has also made a series of mobile acquisitions. These include the news gathering and delivery startup Summly, which it purchased for close to $30 million. The Summly deal followed Yahoo!’s acquisition of social recommendation company Jybe, which was staffed by former Yahoo! employees.
As Drew Olanoff noted at the time of Jybe’s acquisition, the deal proves that Yahoo! is focused on “acquiring teams that do heavy research in machine and natural learning, which goes to show you that Mayer is giving the company an intelligence facelift of sorts.” (Speaking of additions to the Yahoo! team, Drew himself recently left TechCrunch to go purple).
The acquisition’s closure, however, is still uncertain. Longtime Xobni followers might remember that in 2008 the startup turned down an acquisition offer from Microsoft in the $20 million range. While the $30 million to $40 million offered from Yahoo! represents an increase from Microsoft’s offer, it is important to note that it is still less than the $40 million that the startup has raised from investors including First Round Capital, Khosla Ventures and Y Combinator. AllThingsD reports that some Xobni common shareholders might not get any of their investment back over preferred shareholders, which might prevent the deal from going through, especially since Yahoo! seems unlikely to offer more money.