SAN FRANCISCO Feb 11 Marketing company Lithium
Technologies is near a deal to buy social-media measurement
business Klout, according to a report.
The deal, first reported by the technology news site
Re/code, would marry Lithium's social-media focused
customer-service business with Klout's analysis of brands' and
individuals' social-media savvy. The price tag was at least $100
million in a mixture of cash and shares of Lithium, which like
Klout is privately held, the report said.
It is unclear how big a return that would represent for
Klout backers, who invested at least $40 million in the company,
including a $30 million round in 2012. Backers include Kleiner
Perkins Caufield & Byers, which led that 2012 round;
Institutional Venture Partners; Mayfield; and Microsoft Corp
Lithium, founded in 2001, has raised more than $150 million
from investors such as Shasta Ventures, Emergence Capital
Partners, Benchmark, DAG Ventures and New Enterprise Associates.
It is considered a candidate for a 2014 initial public offering.
Klout was born out of founder Joe Fernandez's inability to
speak after jaw surgery, a period when he relied on sites like
Facebook and Twitter to communicate. It has not
gained as much traction as fans predicted a couple of years ago,
despite heavy press over incidents such as assigning President
Barack Obama a lower influence score than singer Justin Bieber.
Late last year, transportation service Uber hired away
Klout's chief operating officer Emil Michael.
"The transition from interesting technology (or if you want
to take the negative view, silly ego novelty) to real business
has been painful," Fernandez wrote in a September blog post.
Both Klout and Lithium are based in San Francisco.