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 Comcast.net, video entertainment site Fancast, movie site Fandango and the platform, an online video delivery site.