Lithium Technologies nears takeover of social media analytics startup Klout in $100M deal
San Francisco-based enterprise software company Lithium Technologies is reportedly about to close a deal to buy social media analytics startup Klout, Reuters said in a report.
The report, citing an article earlier published in tech news portal Re/code, said that Lithium's social media-focused customer service business will be integrated with Klout's analysis of the social media presence of brands and individuals. Lithium will takeover Klout for at least $100 million in a combination of cash and Lithium shares.
It could not be learned how much return Klout investors would receive in the deal. They have poured at least $40 million in investments in the startup, including a $30 million funding round in 2012. Growth equity investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, venture capital firms Institutional Venture Partners and Mayfield Fund, and tech giant Microsoft Corp. are among Klout's investors, Reuters said.
Meanwhile, Lithium has nabbed over $150 million in funding from venture capital firms Shasta Ventures, Emergence Capital Partners, Benchmark, DAG Ventures and New Enterprise Associates, the report said. Businessweek in December reported that Lithium is preparing for an initial public offering. Reuters said that the IPO could come as early as this year.
Klout founder Joe Fernandez's inability to speak in the wake of a jaw surgery, a time when he relied heavily on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to communicate, inspired the creation of the startup. Klout has not gained as much popularity as was expected a few years back, even after stirring uproar over incidents such as giving pop star Justin Bieber a higher influence score than US president Barack Obama, the report said.
Fernandez, in a blog post in September, said that "the transition from interesting technology (or if you want to take the negative view, silly ego novelty) to real business has been painful". The Lithium deal could be a redemption for Klout, which has recently suffered criticism for fueling the vanity of social media.