The FINANCIAL — Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) on April 18 announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Kosmix, underscoring its commitment to social and mobile commerce. Kosmix, based in Mountain View, Calif., has developed a social media technology platform that filters and organizes content in social networks to connect people with real-time information that matters to them.
Kosmix was founded by Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, early pioneers of online shopping, whose first company, Junglee, was acquired by Amazon.com in 1998. The founders and the Kosmix team will operate as part of the newly formed WalmartLabs and continue to be based in Silicon Valley. Walmart plans to expand the WalmartLabs team and expects this new group will create technologies and businesses around social and mobile commerce that will support Walmart's global multi-channel strategy, which integrates the shopping experience between bricks and mortar stores and e-commerce. Walmart operates retail businesses in 15 countries and e-commerce businesses in nine countries, the company informed.
Kosmix's innovative technology platform searches and analyzes connections in real-time data streams to deliver highly personalized insights to users. The platform powers TweetBeat, a real-time social media filter for live events with more than five million visits last month; Kosmix.com, a site to discover social content by topic; and RightHealth, one of the top three health and medical information sites by global reach.
"We are expanding our capabilities in today's rapidly growing social commerce environment," said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Walmart's vice chairman. "Social networking and mobile applications are increasingly becoming a part of our customers' day-to-day lives globally, influencing how they think about shopping, both online and in retail stores. We are excited to have the Kosmix team join us to accelerate the development of our social and mobile commerce offerings."
"The world of social media is exploding and for millions of consumers their social connections matter hugely in their daily lives," said Anand Rajaraman, co-founder of Kosmix. "Our work has focused on developing a social genome platform that captures the connections between people, places, topics, products and events as expressed through social media — be it a feed, a tweet or a post. We are thrilled to join one of the world's largest companies and combine our work with Walmart's vast online and offline retail businesses."
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and the company anticipates it will close during the first half of this year.