Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ask Jeeves to be acquired?

Geraldine Fabrikant at the New York Times reports that:
    IAC/InterActiveCorp ... is close to an agreement to acquire Ask Jeeves Inc. ... for about $1.9 billion.

    IAC/InterActive owns ... Expedia, Ticketmaster, Home Shopping Network, and CitySearch.
There's been a lot of deals lately. Ask Jeeves itself acquired Bloglines just a few weeks ago. Yahoo acquired Oddpost, Farechase, and Flickr. MSN acquired Lookout. Google acquired Keyhole and Picasa. Looksmart acquired Mamma acquired Copernic. Six Apart acquired LiveJournal.

But this would be a much larger and riskier deal. While there's a certain logic to combining Ask and IAC, the business literature shows that the vast majority of mergers of large companies either destroy value or fail to create value. Promises of "synergies" usually fall victim to the staggering complexity of aligning the organizations.

[via Steve Rubel]

Update: Charlene Li has a good list of the expected synergies.

Update: It's official. Here's the press release.

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