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Britain's Blinkx flies on Google, Newscorp bid talk

A screenshot of Blinkx.com, taken on May 9, 2008. REUTERS/www.blinkx.com

LONDON (Reuters) - Shares of British video search engine firm Blinkx surged 50 percent to a seven-month high on Friday, on talk that Internet giant Google and media conglomerate NewsCorp may bid for the firm.

The shares were up to 36.75 pence at 5:53 a.m. EDT (0953 GMT), their highest level since September, valuing the firm at around 102 million pounds ($199.2 million).

Blinkx, founded in 2004 by Sri Lanka-descended Briton Suranga Chandratillake, floated on London’s junior AIM market in May 2007 following a merger with another UK search engine firm, Autonomy.

The speculation may have come in anticipation of a May 24 expiry of a clause which stipulates that $50 million should be paid to Autonomy in the event of a buyout within a year of its initial share sale, IPO filings show.

Blinkx may also be a target because of its technology and its strong consumer focus, said Piper Jaffray analyst Rajeev Bahl.

Talk of a bid “does not sound ridiculous,” he said. “If there were to be a bid, the main search engine companies like Google and Yahoo would be sensible bidders. Blinkx have got very intelligent search engine technology and a number of licensees.”

Officials at all three companies were not immediately available for comment.

More people visited Blinkx-linked videos by weekly market share than Google’s UK service, data compiled by third party reporting agencies like comScore, Hitwise and Quantcast showed in November.

Reporting by Hsu Chuang Khoo; editing by Rory Channing

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