Walmart Acquires Social-Media Firm Kosmix

BENTONVILLE, Ark.-Walmart has reached a definitive agreement to purchase Kosmix, a developer of social-media technology--thus signaling its intent to put more resources into its social-networking and mobile-commerce efforts.

Based in Mountain View, Calif., Kosmix is the creator of a platform that searches and analyzes connections in real-time data streams, which delivers highly personalized insights to users, according to a Walmart statement. The company, which will operate in Walmart's newly formed @WalmartLabs unit, will remain in its Silicon Valley locations. Its founders, Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, will remain with the firm.

Walmart said it plans to expand the @WalmartLabs team, and expects it to create technologies and businesses around social and mobile commerce that will support the retailer's global multichannel strategy. This involves integrating the shopping experience between brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce, Walmart said. Currently, Walmart operates retail businesses in 15 countries and e-commerce businesses in nine countries.

Eduardo Castro-Wright, Walmart's vice chairman, said, "We are expanding our capabilities in today's rapidly growing social-commerce environment. Social networking and mobile applications are increasingly becoming a part of our customers' day-to-day lives globally, influencing how they think about shopping, both online and in retail stores."

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