Wal-Mart Buys Social Media Platform Kosmix

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville said Monday that it would acquire social and mobile media platform Kosmix of Mountain View, Calif.

The world's largest retailer did not disclose a purchase price, but the Wall Street Journal's All Things D website said Tuesday that sources told it Wal-Mart paid $300 million for the company.

The site said the six-year-old company had previously raised $55 million from Silicon Valley venture firms.

Kosmix's social media technology platform filters and organizes real-time content in social networks. It was founded by Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, whose first company, Junglee, was acquired by Amazon.com in 1998.

Wal-Mart said Harinarayan and Rajaraman will join the retailer's newly formed @WalmartLabs and continue to be based in Silicon Valley. It said the @WalmartLabs 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."

"We are expanding our capabilities in today's rapidly growing social commerce environment," Eduardo Castro-Wright, Wal-Mart's vice chairman, said in a news release.

"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," he said. "We are excited to have the Kosmix team join us to accelerate the development of our social and mobile commerce offerings." 

Kosmix searches and analyzes connections in real-time data streams such as Twitter to deliver 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, a top health and medical information site.

"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," Anand Rajaraman, co-founder of Kosmix, said. "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."