Comcast Acquires Social Network Pioneer Plaxo

Comcast Corp has agreed to acquire pioneering Web start-up Plaxo Inc, which first sought to turn address books into social networks and laid the foundation for Friendster and Facebook.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

However, a source close to the deal said Comcast, the largest U.S. cable TV operator and a leading U.S. broadband Internet supplier, is paying “around $175 million, plus or minus 5 percent.”

Plaxo is famous in Silicon Valley lore for being early to realize the potential business opportunities sitting latent in the online address books of e-mail users — but only belatedly jumping on the social network craze that soon followed.

Comcast plans to use Plaxo to give its consumers social network links across all Comcast-connected devices including TVs, digital video recorders and, eventually, wireless devices, thanks to a new partnership with Sprint, Clearwire and Google.

Plaxo will join its fast-growing Comcast Interactive Media unit which includes, video entertainment site Fancast, movie site Fandango and the platform, an online video delivery site.

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