Marketing Pilgrim's "Local" Channel

Sponsor Marketing Pilgrim's Local Channel today! Get in front of some of the most influential readers in the Internet and social media marketing industry. Contact us today!

InfoSpace Sells Switchboard.com; Is Mobile Business Next?


Today we learn that Superpages.com parent, Idearc Inc., has acquired Switchboard.com from InfoSpace Inc.

The deal was done for $225 million in cash and will include all of InfoSpace’s online directory business.

Now, here’s an interesting twist. The Triangle Business Journal–yes we do have a tech industry in North Carolina folks–suggests that InfoSpace is also set to sell its entire mobile division to Durham-based Motricity.

Motricity just raised $175M and the TBJ’s sources say the deal is “expected soon.”

But, something is not gelling here…

By selling its mobile business, InfoSpace could focus solely on its Internet division, which includes such properties as Switchboard.com and DogPile.com. The company’s online business is expected to have a 12-month revenue run rate of about $140 million.

Or maybe not. Now that InfoSpace has sold off its internet division, will it now sell its mobile business too? That would pretty much leave the company with just its metacrawlers–such as Dogpile–hardly the strongest of its assets.

I’m guessing either the TBJ is spot on, and this is a closing down sale by InfoSpace, or they’re way off and InfoSpace plans to focus on building its mobile division. We’ll have to wait and see.

  • http://dmehus.wordpress.com/ Doug Mehus

    hey Andy,

    It definitely appears to be the long-awaited sale of InfoSpace, albeit by piecemeal. The sale to Idearc Media definitely makes sense and gives them a very strong place in the global online people and business search market. Whenever I have the need to look up a U.S. phone number (as I’m Canadian, it’s not often), I turn to Switchboard.com, especially since InfoSpace gave it a very elegant, pop-up and pop-under free web design. I don’t even think of “yellowpages.com”, which is owned by R.H. Donnelley if I’m not mistaken.

    One thing that puzzles me, too, is why aren’t the metacrawlers going with Switchboard.com? I’ve always been more fond of InfoSpace’s metacrawlers even they’re slower growing and less profitable than mobile. However, mobile is volatile. What was once InfoSpace’s cash cow is now their albatross necklace, forcing them to swallow losses for the first time in years.

    I still think the metacrawlers have strong value, if nothing else than for sale to a domain aggregator and monetizer like Internet REIT or Marchex. However, if the price were right, I could definitely see IAC/InterActiveCorp picking these up for another couple hundred million. If mobile gets a couple hundred million too, coupled with cash on hand, they could then buy up all the outstanding shares and wind down the business from a legal sense.

    A little bit messier as opposed to a clean buyout, but it works. Shareholders should still be pleased.

    Cheers,
    Doug

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Doug.

  • Pingback: www.allbestasia.org » Beating news plagiarism online: a business plan

  • http://omadsense.com Omad

    Switchboard – wow, I remember that. i didn’t realize it was still around….or of use… I guess the value is in there somewhere?

  • Todd

    sounds like TBJ is spot off…INSP may very well sell off the mobile infrastructure business which currently comprise all of INSP’s current mobile revenues but very doubtful that INSP would sell off its mobile search business which is growing like wildfire in terms of traffic – albeit with no monetization yet….with mass market 3g touchscreen phones expected to sell well starting this holiday season and going fwd and recently securing mobile search contracts with VZW Sprint and ATT home pages – Motricity is not likely to get INSP’s crown jewels for nothing