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Brier Dudley's blog

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

August 4, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Deals galore: Kirkland’s Hipcricket sold for $44.5 million

August is supposed to be a slow month but this week has seen Seattle area companies sold once a day, on average.

Today it’s Kirkland mobile marketing company Hipcricket, which was sold for $44.5 million to New York mobile marketing company Augme.

The deal follows Tuesday’s sale of Sucker Punch Productions to Sony and Griptonite to Glu Mobile ($28 million) and AdXPose to comScore ($22 million).

Hipcricket’s roughly 50 employees will remain with the merged company; Chief Executive Ivan Braiker will become Augme’s president, and its president and chief operating officer, Eric Harber, will become Augme’s COO.

“It’s great for the local area because not only are we looking to hire people today, we’re looking to hire more in the future,” Harber said.

The deal’s expected to close at the end of the month. Hipcricket’s getting $6 million in cash and $38.5 million worth of Augme stock. Another $27.5 million is possible depending on performance over the next year.

Since its founding in 2004, Hipcricket raised $26 million from investors. It also built up an A-list of clients including Nestle, KFC, MillerCoors and Macy’s. It has seen campaign growth averaging 10 percent a month during the first half of this year. Over the last 12 months it had sales of $8.9 million.

Combined the companies will have more than 300 customers, including 10 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies, six of the largest media companies and four of the largest ad agencies, the release said.

“They have some technology and some patents that we think are very complementary to us,” Braiker said.

Augme bought another company, Princeton, N.J.-based JAGTAG, in July.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the combined company is in turn acquired by a larger advertising company within the next few years, as mobile advertising grows and consolidation continues.

But first Augme needs to change its name to Hipcricket (and not JAGTAG …).

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