Report: Shutterfly in talks to sell

Shutterfly may be crafting a deal to sell the company.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Shutterfly, an online publishing service based in Redwood City, is in talks with investment bank Qatalyst Partners to find buyers for the company. Talks are in the early stage and may or may not lead to a transaction, the news service reports. Shutterfly did not immediately comment.

Shutterfly is best known for turning digital photos into books, albums, calendars, stationery and other printed products; and print photos onto gifts such as mugs and pillows. It was founded in the dot-com boom and has raised about $190 million from venture and private equity, and has backing from firms including Sequoia, BlackRock and Accel Partners. It went public in 2006 on the Nasdaq, where its stock is up 218 percent since the IPO date. On Wednesday, shares reached more than $50 in morning trading, a 16 percent jump from Tuesday’s close. The company is valued at an estimated $1.9 billion.

There are no reports yet of a potential buyer, but a Shutterfly sale to a larger e-commerce firm is consistent with the rise of deals seen among big tech companies last year and this year.

Deals have occurred as recently as this week, when Google agreed to buy Songza, a mobile application that provides music playlists tailored to users’ tastes, and the search giant acquired satellite imaging company Skybox in June. Facebook made history with the largest Silicon Valley acquisition when in February it bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, and Apple made its biggest purchase when it bought headphone company Beats for $3 billion in May.

None, though, have matched the pace of Yahoo, which bought 22 companies in 2013, the most of any tech company, paying $1.2 billion for engineering talent and new technology — the most notable of recent being Tumblr. The total dollars spent on acquiring U.S. private tech companies was up 34 percent last year to $111.8 billion.

Heather Somerville Heather Somerville (206 Posts)

Heather Somerville is a business reporter covering venture capital and startups for the Bay Area News Group.