Comcast acquires social network pioneer Plaxo

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO Wed May 14, 2008 6:31pm EDT

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts speaks at his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada January 8, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts speaks at his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada January 8, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - 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 theplatform, an online video delivery site.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke and Eric Auchard; Editing by Braden Reddall)