Blucora

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BLUCORA
Type Public Corporation (NASDAQBCOR)
Founded March 1996
Headquarters Bellevue, Washington, USA
Founder(s) Punam Agrawal, Glenn Byrd, Jean-Remy Facq, Anu Jain, Naveen Jain, Sanjay Kohli, Kevin Marcus, Charles Mathieu, Chris Matty, Richard Openheimer
Key people William J. Ruckelshaus (President and CEO)
Services metasearch and private-label Internet search tax preparation services
Revenue $228.8 million for FY2011[1]
Website http://www.blucora.com/

Blucora (formerly Infospace, Inc.) (sometimes misinterpreted as "BlueCora") InfoSpace, Inc. changed its name to Blucora and its NASDAQ ticker symbol from INSP to BCOR on June 7, 2012. This name change reflected the company's change as the owner of two online businesses, after its acquisition of TaxACT in January 2012, and distinguishes the parent company from its search business operating unit, which is called InfoSpace.[2]

Blucora's InfoSpace business provides metasearch and private-label Internet search services for consumers and online search and monetization solutions to a network of more than 100 partners worldwide. InfoSpace's main metasearch site is Dogpile; its other brands are WebCrawler, and MetaCrawler.[3][2] from InfoSpace's website.

Blucora's TaxACT subsidiary offers online tax preparation services. Founded in 1998 and made by 2nd Story Software, in the 2005 tax season, TaxACT became the first to offer free federal tax software and free e-file to all U.S. taxpayers.[4]

History[edit]

The company was founded as Infospace in March 1996 by Naveen Jain after he left Microsoft. He served as CEO until 2000. The company, which started with six employees,[5] built an online yellow pages service to be funded through advertising. A set of simple chat rooms (based on HTML and meta refresh) were also available on the site.

InfoSpace went public on December 15, 1998. The company raised $75 million in the offering.[6]

In July 2000, InfoSpace acquired Go2Net. After the merger, Go2Net CEO Russell Horowitz became president of Infospace.[7]

Also, in 2000, InfoSpace used a controversial accounting method to report $46 million in profits when in fact it had lost $282 million. Company executives skirted SEC trading restrictions to sell large blocks of their personal stock.[8]

Jain resumed the role of CEO in 2001,[9] but was forced out by InfoSpace's board as chairman and CEO in December 2002.[10]

By June 2002, the company's stock price, which reached $1,305 in March 2000,[11] had dropped to $2.67.[5]

August 1, 2013, Blucora buys Monoprice in an all cash transaction.[12]

On April 21, 2014, Discovery Communications announced that they had sold HowStuffWorks to Blucora for $45 million.[13]

June 2, 2014, Blucora completes the purchase of HowStuffWorks.

Shareholder lawsuit[edit]

In a shareholder lawsuit filed in 2003, a lower court federal judge ruled that former InfoSpace CEO, Naveen Jain, had purchased shares of Infospace in violation of six month short swing insider trading rules, and issued a $247 million judgment against him, the largest award of its kind at that time.[14] While on appeal in 2005, Jain settled the case for $105 million, while denying liability. Jain's attempt in further litigation against his former lawyers for the loss was dismissed.[15][16][17]

New Management and Company Restructuring[edit]

In December 2002, Jim Voelker took over Naveen Jain's role as Chairman, CEO and President of InfoSpace. Voelker quickly shut down or sold many of InfoSpace's 12 businesses, and focused on five core segments. In 2003, InfoSpace acquired Moviso from Vivendi Universal Net USA. Moviso provides ringtones, wallpapers and video games, usually accessed through a mobile handset enabling wireless carriers to charge a fee for these downloads. In early March 2003, InfoSpace sued Jain for allegedly violating noncompete agreements in his role at newly founded Intelius. In an interview after the suit was filed, Jain said the lawsuit was without merit and was a retaliation for Jain's whistle-blowing. In April 2003, he resigned from the InfoSpace board.

In 2004, InfoSpace acquired Switchboard, which is now owned by Verizon spin-off Idearc Media, and overshadowed by Idearc's SuperPages. It also moved into the mobile games space, acquiring Atlas Mobile, IOMO and elkware. InfoSpace reported $249 million in revenue in 2004 — up 89 percent from the previous year and more than Jain ever achieved in the company's dot-com heyday.[18] September 2006, InfoSpace released news that a carrier partner would be working directly with major recording labels thus negatively impacting their core business. Following this carrier/label arrangement, InfoSpace sold the Moviso mobile content business to FunMobility, Atlas Mobile studio to Twistbox and IOMO re-emerged as FinBlade. The remaining portions of InfoSpace Mobile were acquired by Motricity in December 2007. Between May 2007 and January 2008, the company paid shareholders $500 million in special dividends, or $15.30/share.Infospace.com began redirecting to SuperPages in 2009. Superpages had acquired InfoSpace's directory services in 2007.In 2008, industry analysts believed InfoSpace was gradually dismantling itself.

In February 2009, Jim Voelker retired as CEO and president yet remained on the company's board as chairman. From February 2009 to November 2010, Will Lansing served as President and CEO of InfoSpace. Under Lansing's leadership, InfoSpace started an online auction website called haggle.com. A year later, it shut down the website and sold its assets to BigDeal.com.

Current CEO, recent acquisitions, and change of company name[edit]

Blucora's current President and CEO is William J. Ruckelshaus. Ruckelshaus was appointed to this role in November 2010 after serving as a board member since May 2007. In January 2012, the company acquired TaxAct, and to help differentiate its name from its new purchase, and that of its InfoSpace search unit, it rebranded its name to Blucora, and its NASDAQ ticker symbol changed to BCOR on June 7, 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2011 Annual Report". InfoSpace. Retrieved April 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ http://investor.blucora.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=1181431-12-33701&CIK=1068875
  3. ^ [1] from InfoSpace's website
  4. ^ http://www.taxact.com/company/company_aboutus.asp
  5. ^ a b Heath, David (March 6, 2005). "Dot-Con Job — Part 1: Dubious Deals — How InfoSpace took its investors for a ride: Business & Technology: The Seattle Times". Retrieved 13 Sep 2013. 
  6. ^ A Fine IPO for InfoSpace from Wired
  7. ^ InfoSpace to buy Go2Net to expand content delivery
  8. ^ Heath, David (March 7, 2005). "Dot-Con Job — Part 2: Cashing Out — When times got tough, execs hid troubles, dumped stock". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 13 Sep 2013. 
  9. ^ "INFOSPACE INC (Form: 8-K, Received: 01/23/2001 17:15:42". google.brand.edgar-online.com. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  10. ^ "InfoSpace severs final ties with founder Jain". Puget Sound Business Journal. April 28, 2003. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  11. ^ The two faces of InfoSpace, 1998–2001
  12. ^ Miller, Ben (August 1, 2013). "Blucora buying Monoprice for $180M". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  13. ^ "Discovery Sells HowStuffWorks at 82% Loss After Seven Years". Bloomberg. April 21, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2014. 
  14. ^ Heath, David (August 23, 2003). "Ex-InfoSpace chief ordered to pay $247 million penalty". Seattle Times. Retrieved February 24, 2010. 
  15. ^ Heath, David; Pian Chan, Sharon; Dot-con Job: Part 3: The Aftermath – Unusual ally: SEC, The Seattle Times, 2005
  16. ^ Court turns down appeal from Infospace founder, The Seattle Times, March 9, 2009.
  17. ^ http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1068875/000119312504219392/dex991.htm
  18. ^ Heath, David (March 7, 2005). "Dot-Con Job - Part 3: The Aftermath - New management, tighter focus finally put InfoSpace in the black". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 13 Sep 2013.