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Inktomi to buy C2B

The search engine company announces that it is buying C2B Technologies, developer of online comparison shopping software.

Search engine company Inktomi today announced that it is buying C2B Technologies, developer of online comparison shopping software.

The move into e-commerce is a new one for Inktomi, which has focused its business of late on developing back-end technologies for search engines and caching.

While other search engines such as Compaq's AltaVista have been transforming their search engines into portals--sites intended to bring users online, Inktomi has focused on providing back-end technology for other companies.

The acquisition will give Inktomi what it hopes will be a vital weapon in its arsenal: a strong shopping technology that it can now offer to portal customers, who are increasingly looking for powerful e-commerce solutions to generate revenue.

While many portals already offer e-commerce in the way of links to shops and online shopping malls, they are looking for overall solutions that will allow customers to come to sites and search for products and prices, much in the way they might search for a movie or a fact.

Inktomi emphasized in a statement today that the move "underscores" its "continued commitment to deliver applications that are core to the Internet infrastructure." Now e-commerce will be the third type of service for the company--in addition to search and caching.

It will use C2B to provide sites with a private-label shopping product, the company stated.

"Inktomi's mission is to be the leading provider of Internet infrastructure software," David Peterschmidt, president and CEO of Inktomi said in a statement. "The acquisition leverages our core competencies, extends our market reach, and demonstrates our commitment to continue providing customers with solutions for their critical infrastructure needs."

C2B's technology, according to the company, allows users to compare products by price, user reviews, and other criteria. More than 170 merchants use CTB, including CNNfn, which announced last month plans to launch a retail channel on its business news and information Web site using C2B technologies.

The deal, according to Inktomi, is a stock trade. Inktomi will acquire 100 percent of the outstanding stock of C2B Technologies in exchange for approximately 1.8 million shares of Inktomi common stock, which has an approximate market value of $90 million, according to Inktomi. In addition, Inktoni stated that it will "assume all outstanding options and warrants of C2B Technologies."