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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 19, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Ontela boss mum, but TechCrunch says he’s buying Photobucket

Seattle mobile photo startup Ontela is going to acquire News Corp.’s Photobucket online photo sharing service, according to a TechCrunch report.

Citing unnamed sources, the tech blog said Disney’s Steamboat Ventures is putting $40 million more into Ontela to enable the $60 million “fire sale” of Photobucket:

“Lots more details are coming in on the Photobucket fire sale by MySpace/News Corp. The sale is all but complete, say new sources. And the buyer is definitely Washington state based Ontela.”

Ontela founder Dan Shapiro wouldn’t comment on or off the record when reached on his mobile this afternoon. He sounded upbeat, but he usually does, so who knows?

The deal would dramatically raise the profile of Ontela, which has been steadily building a business providing photo handling technology to mobile phone companies.

It would also further boost Disney’s stake in the Seattle tech industry. I wonder if Ontelabucket would use Disney Internet Group’s Seattle-based infrastructure.

Seattle provided other chess pieces that News Corp has moved recently. It phased out MySpace founders with Seattle pedigree after buying local music startup iLike, and last week promoted its founders to executive positions in the social networking company.

Comments | More in | Topics: Startups

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