Kara Swisher

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Yahoo to Acquire Xoopit for About $20 Million


Yahoo plans on announcing Thursday that it has bought Xoopit for a price in the $20 million range, according to several sources, one of its first acquisitions in a long while.

Reached late this afternoon by BoomTown, a Yahoo (YHOO) spokeswoman declined to comment about the acquisition. Xoopit did not respond to emails earlier today.

But sources said it was a done deal to buy the San Francisco-based social email start-up that finds photos, video, links and other files in email so that users can surface and then share them on many sites. It also has other products that essentially enliven email.

Xoopit’s investors–Accel Partners and Foundation Capital, along with several angel investors–have pumped about $6.5 million into the company since 2006.

According to sources, Yahoo was first impressed with its innovative plug-in that works with Gmail from Google (GOOG), and has been looking at the company for a while, previously offering about $10 million for it.

Xoopit also makes a similar photo-sharing application for Yahoo! Mail, which it launched late last year.

The opening up of its popular email product to a variety of third-party applications, in order to make it more robust, has been a goal of Yahoo recently, as it seeks to socialize one of its most popular products.

One source said Xoopit was a good fit for Yahoo because it allowed the company’s email to be the platform that could knit together other social networking services, such as Facebook. This is seen as a core feature, although the Silicon Valley-based company is also opening its email products up to outside developers.

Yahoo has been planning on announcing the acquisition on Thursday at Fortune magazine’s Brainstorm Tech conference, where SVP of Applications Products Bryan Lamkin is appearing on a panel titled, “Dollars & Demographics: Capitalizing on Demographic Trends.”

Lamkin, a former Adobe Systems (ADBE) exec, now runs the Yahoo unit that includes email and other communications and communities products. He was hired in April by CEO Carol Bartz.

That panel topic is a little ironic, several sources joked, since Xoopit is not profitable and has very small revenues thus far.

The Wall Street Journal also reported on the deal, although it said Yahoo and Xoopit were still in late-stage talks and the deal was not complete yet.

But, according to my sources, it is done.