IPIX And Bamboo.com Agree To $850 Million Merger

Interactive Pictures (Nasdaq: IPIX) and bamboo.com (Nasdaq: BAMB), two of the leading providers of interactive pictures for the Internet, announced today that they have agreed to a merger valued at approximately $850 million (US$).

The two companies said that they will exchange stock in a 50/50 merger, with IPIX shareholders receiving 1.36 shares of common stock for each bamboo.com share. The merger is subject to SEC and shareholder approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

The yet-to-be formally named company will have its headquarters in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, IPIX’s current home. IPIX CEO Jim Phillips will take over the controls of the new operation, which expects to emerge as the number one Internet imaging company.

“We are very excited about the combination of our companies as it brings together the two leaders in Internet imaging, enabling us to dramatically accelerate the adoption of IPIX technology for business and consumer applications, ” Phillips commented. “By joining the complimentary capabilities of both companies, we are creating a strong foundation to capitalize on the explosive growth of Internet imaging.”

A Panoramic View

While both companies are focused upon Internet imaging, their levels of technology and market aims do differ. Bamboo.com has gone after the real estate market, offering interactive tours of properties in 75 metropolitan areas around the United States. For a fee of $99.95, the Palo Alto, California-based company sends a bonded videographer to a home, captures and process the images and uploads them to one national site.

Founded in 1995 and backed by Intel, Trident Capital and Walden Capital, bamboo has contracts with most of the larger real estate-related sites on the Web. The company went public in August, raising $28 million. Today, it reported third quarter revenues of $1.3 million and a net loss of $21.3 million. For the nine months of this year, the company reported a loss of a whopping $38 million.

IPIX was founded in 1986 at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and originally developed its technology to provide remote viewing of hazardous sites for NASA and the Department of Energy. The company also went public in August, raising $75 million in its initial public offering. Its early backers were Media One, Motorola, American Express and others.

IPIX provides 360 degree immersive photography, using two opposing photographs taken with a fisheye lens. Microsoft, Disney, CNN, the NFL, NBA and a number of national publications are among its list of clients.

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