Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) has made its first ever acquisition in Israel - LabPixies Ltd., a developer of personalized website gadgets for Google's personalized search page iGoogle, as well as for mobile devices. The companies did not disclose the size of the deal, but sources estimate it at $25 million.
The acquisition is a strategic move for Google in Israel, in contrast to the numerous Israeli start-ups acquired by Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT), Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), and eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY). Google launched activity in Israel in 2005, but until now, it has not made any acquisitions here.
LabPixies, which has 12 employees, will be absorbed by Google Israel.
LabPixies' gadgets provide user information, such as news and weather reports, games, and quick access to e-mailboxes. Google says that it acquired LabPixies because it specializes in the development of cloud-based applications enables thousands of developers to create applications for users worldwide, which will strengthen the iGoogle product.
LabPixies raised $1 million from private investors, in a round led by Yaron Carni, who was also actively the company's director of business development and was on the board of directors. LabPixies CEO Ran Ben-Yair, VP R&D Oded Poncz, VP business development Nir Tzemah, and creative director Udi Graff founded the company in 2006. The company's customers include "The New York Times".
Ben-Yair said, "We founded LabPixies in order to create a personalized surfing experience, and to develop useful gadgets for people's daily surfing experience. We see the deal with Google as a golden opportunity for our team to join a work environment that shares our passion to give millions of users the ultimate online experience."
Google Israel managing director Prof. Yossi Matias said, "We welcome LabPixies' team to the Google Israel R&D center. We believe that adding this talented team to the center will enable us to continue to strengthen the Internet platform, and make it more attractive than ever for developers and surfers worldwide. Google believes in Israeli innovation and creativity, and we'll continue to strive for collaborations with local companies and start-ups in the future."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 27, 2010
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