Kara Swisher

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Intuit Buys Docstoc to Round Out Small Business Services; Price Could Hit $50 Million

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Intuit has acquired Docstoc, the electronic document service aimed at the sale and storage of a wide variety of documents for businesses.

While the well-known Silicon Valley-based business-software company did not disclose the price it paid for the Los Angeles-area company, sources close to the situation said that it could reach $50 million, although it’s not clear if that price includes earn-outs to the staff of 50 Docstoc employees who will be joining Intuit. The unit will remain in Santa Monica, Calif., for now.

Some sources said that the price — which was all cash — could be lower, more in line with a string of small, largely talent purchases that Intuit has made over the last six months. Still, Docstoc has taken in only $4 million in funding from venture firms such as Rustic Canyon Partners and L.A. investors like Mike Jones, so any sale would be a windfall.

“Our vision is to be the ultimate destination and resource site for small businesses,” said Docstoc co-founder and CEO Jason Nazar in a press release.

“As we strive to be the operating system behind small business success, we are looking for solutions and teams that best serve small businesses, and Docstoc stood out as a clear leader,” said Alex Chriss, a VP and GM in Intuit’s small business division.

Intuit has been on a bit of an acquisition tear of late, and its stock hit a 52-week high yesterday. The last large-scale purchase it made was in 2012, when Intuit bought small-business marketing software-as-a-service provider Demandforce for $423.5 million. But since then it has seen a series of smaller purchases to round out its services offered to small and medium businesses that are at the core of its audience, including:

  • Cloud app-making startup Elastic Minds for its Cloud Connection product in June;
  • Australian cloud accounting and tax management system Fifo in July;
  • tax-planning advice service GoodApril in August;
  • data consulting firm Level Up Analytics in October;
  • appointment scheduling startup Full Slate, also in October;
  • and Prestwick Services, a payroll-based billing and solutions system for the workers compensation industry, in November.

In its recent filings, Intuit said it paid a total of $65 million for the last four.

But Docstoc has a much more robust and also profitable business built since it was launched in late 2007 by co-founder and CEO Jason Nazar. Its repository of professional documents now numbers more than 20 million, and also offers expert videos, articles and productivity tools. It will also be developing more products with Intuit.

Intuit said it expected the transaction to close during the second quarter, which ends Jan. 31, 2014.

More to come, but here’s a blast-from-the-past video interview I did with Nazar back in 2009, when Docstoc was just gaining traction:


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus