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Infospace to Merge with Marchex?

MarchexAt least, that’s what this Forbes article theorizes as one possible explanation, quoting a Wall Street analyst:

“Scott Sutherland, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan Securities, said the most likely scenario is that the company will take InfoSpace private to save money or merge with the search and media company, Marchex, whose executives are former executives at InfoSpace.”

Just yesterday, I expressed a bit of confusion about why InfoSpace made deals to sell off their mobile services to Motricity, and sell off directory services to Idearc’s Superpages…

Greg Stirling also expressed a bit of wonder about the reasoning behind the deal, too. (I swear we didn’t read each other’s posts before writing our comments!)

Southerland reported that the mobile services unit was actually bleeding money, though, so that explains selling off that portion, perhaps.

Could Sutherland’s merge-with-Marchex theory be right? One still has to wonder why InfoSpace would off-load Switchboard if they were to merge with another local information company, since keeping it would give them much more combined clout. Marchex owns a few directory sites already, including Yellow.com, AreaConnect, and YPeek, but none of these come close to the traffic of Switchboard.

Southerland further theorizes that if they are staying independent instead of merging, and are truly concentrating on developing the business around search, they might focus solely on metasearch, such as found in their Dogpile site.

It’s really going to be interesting to see where this is headed.

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