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|Type of business||Public|
S&P 600 Component
|Founded||March 1996(as Infospace, Inc.)|
|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||John S. Clendening (President and CEO)|
|Services||Metasearch and private-label Internet search tax preparation services|
|Revenue||$228.8 million for FY2011|
Blucora (formerly Infospace, Inc.) is a provider of Internet-related services, mostly search engines. InfoSpace changed its name to Blucora and NASDAQ symbol from INSP to BCOR on June 7, 2012. This event 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.
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.
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.
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. InfoSpace provided content and services, such as phone directories, maps, games and information on the stock market, to websites and mobile device manufacturers. The company grew at low cost without funding using co-branding strategies. Rather than try to get traffic to an InfoSpace website, sites like Lycos, Excite and Playboy embedded Infospace's features and content into their site and added an InfoSpace icon to it. InfoSpace then earned money by taking a small percentage of licensing, subscription or advertising fees.
By April 2000, InfoSpace was working with 1,500 websites, 60 content providers and 20 telecommunications companies. InfoSpace was praised by Wall Street analysts and at its peak its market cap was $31 billion. It became the largest internet business in the American Northwest. InfoSpace may have contributed to the inflated expectations in internet companies during the height of the dot-com bubble.
In July 2000, InfoSpace acquired Go2Net. After the merger, Go2Net CEO Russell Horowitz became president of Infospace.
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.
On April 21, 2014, Discovery Communications announced that they had sold HowStuffWorks to Blucora for $45 million.
June 2, 2014, Blucora completes the purchase of HowStuffWorks.
In July 2016, Blucora announced the sale of its Infospace business, including HowStuffWorks, to OpenMail for $45 million in cash. As part of the deal, CEO Bill Ruckelshaus was replaced by John Clendening. On November 15, 2016, Blucora said it would move its headquarters from Bellevue, Washington, to Irving, Texas. At the same time, the company announced the sale of Monoprice, its online electronics retail business, to Taiwan-based electronics company YFC-BonEagle for $40 million.
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. 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.
New Management and Company Restructuring
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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. 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.
William J. Ruckelshaus was appointed CEO 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.
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