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Originally published Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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WhitePages.com to buy Snapvine

WhitePages.com, which provides online-contact information, said Wednesday that it is buying fellow startup Snapvine for an undisclosed sum...

Seattle Times business reporter

WhitePages.com, which provides online-contact information, said Wednesday that it is buying fellow startup Snapvine for an undisclosed sum. Both companies are based in Seattle.

WhitePages intends to add Snapvine's software, which enables voice communication in online communities, to its offerings. Snapvine's development team will also join WhitePages. The combined company also plans to launch a voice-mail box, messaging services and other products, WhitePages said in a statement.

The move will allow WhitePages users not only to look up other people, but to directly communicate with them, said Chief Executive Alex Algard. "We want to align ourselves with however people prefer to communicate," he said.

As the use of land telephone lines is decreasing and a lot of people are reluctant to let their cellphone numbers or e-mail addresses appear in a public directory, WhitePages could emerge as a sort of intermediary, Algard said. Snapvine's technology will help reach that goal, he said.

WhitePages expects Snapvine Chief Executive Joe Heitzerberg to become the vice president of a newly created division, communication-product development.

He said the company's staff was "excited" to join WhitePages, and called the company's plan a logical next step for the people-search business model. If "you're up there looking [for] someone, why not just click there and call away?"

The parties expect the transaction to close in about five to 10 days, pending approval of Snapvine shareholders.

Most of Snapvine's 25 employees will move to WhitePages' headquarters in downtown Seattle. WhitePages currently has some 110 employees.

Snapvine was founded in 2005 and has raised some $10 million in venture funding. One of its main investors is Russ Siegelman, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Bridgescale Partners is also an investor.

WhitePages, which covers about 80 percent of the U.S. adult population, was incorporated in 2000 and received a $45 million cash infusion in 2005 from private equity firms.

Ángel González: 206-515-5644

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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