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Originally published March 31, 2014 at 2:52 PM | Page modified April 1, 2014 at 10:38 AM

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Blucora said to ready bid for gadget store Brookstone

Bellevue-based Blucora is poised to enter a bidding war for ailing gadget retailer Brookstone, according to The Wall Street Journal. The move would help diversify Blucora’s Internet-heavy revenue stream.


Seattle Times business reporter

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Bellevue-based Blucora reportedly plans to enter a bidding war for ailing gadget retailer Brookstone, a move that would help diversify its Internet-heavy revenue stream.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Blucora is readying an all-cash bid for Brookstone. The New Hampshire-based retailer has about 240 stores in malls and airports.

The retailer said last week it was in negotiations to sell itself to mall-based retailer Spencer Spirit Holdings; to facilitate the sale, Brookstone said it was considering a pre-negotiated Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

The Journal, citing confidential sources, said Spencer Spirit is offering $120 million in cash and the assumption of the retailer’s debt.

Blucora, which declined to comment on the report of its planned bid, seems to have plenty of cash for such a potential move. It ended 2013 with cash and short-term investments amounting to $334 million.

The company was once known as InfoSpace, a search engine and online directory service. Its stock soared during the dot-com boom and later crashed amid controversy over its earnings statements.

After a long process of reinvention, the 500-employee company acquired TaxAct, a purveyor of tax-preparation software and services; and Monoprice, a low-cost online retailer of consumer electronics.

A majority of its $666 million revenue last year still came from Internet search, but e-commerce and tax-software operations yielded 35 percent of the revenue, the company says.

In 2013, the company posted a $24.4 million profit, up 8 percent from the previous year.

After the early Monday report about its planned bid, Blucora shares closed up 3 percent at $19.69. The company’s market capitalization is at $831 million.

Ángel González: 206-464-2250 or agonzalez@seattletimes.com. On Twitter: @gonzalezseattle



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