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August 16, 2005

News Corp said to be in talks to acquire Blinkx

News Corp is said to be in talks to acquire Blinkx Inc as it believes that the internet search engine start-up with play a crucial role in its ambitions to challenge Yahoo! and AOL as an internet portal.

By CBR Staff Writer

Neither company would comment on the rumors, which surfaced in a report in the Los Angeles Times. However, News Corp is known to be looking for acquisitions in the internet space following its formation of Fox Interactive Media in July to exploit the strength of its entertainment, news, and sports brands across the internet.

Blinkx is a particularly attractive engine because it can comb the desktop, internet, and TV for video and audio clips. The company, co-founded by Cambridge University graduate Suranga Chandratillake, boasts that it has left the traditional world of Boolean keyword searches far behind and implicitly conducts searches based on the content being viewed by each user.

News Corp’s push onto the internet is a departure for CEO Rupert Murdoch who famously said during the dot-com boom that he could not see the internet’s potential for making money, and thus avoided making overvalued purchases during this period. But he has no inhibitions during a period of more staid valuations where there are plenty of examples of ample rewards from online advertising. In July, News Corp paid $580m in cash for Intermix Media Inc, which owns lifestyle portal

With the enthusiasm of a convert, Murdoch told investors last week that he sees the internet as an area of enormous growth, and while he sees Yahoo as a natural competitor, he said there is room for several players.

News Corp needs to acquire the technologies that can enable it to exploit its content, and last week it refused to comment on widespread rumors that it failed in an effort to buy IP phone service provider Skype Technologies SA.

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