Media

Samsung acquires Boxee for $30M (confirmed)

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

Updated at 12:42 p.m. PST with confirmation from Boxee about the acquisition. Update #2 at 8 p.m. with official comment from Boxee below.

Streaming media startup Boxee is selling to Samsung for an estimated $30 million, which backs up previous rumors about the company’s future.

Boxee originally started as a company that provided open-source media software for a wide range of devices, and eventually stopped to focus on software for its own hardware. While Samsung hasn’t made an official announcement about its purchase of Boxee, it’s likely that the Boxee software will make an appearance on the company’s smart TVs.

“We can confirm that Boxee will be joining Samsung. We’ll have a formal statement on our website later this week,” a Boxee spokesperson told VentureBeat. The company, however, did not confirm any of the financial details of the deal. We’re reaching out to Samsung for further comment.

[Editor's note: We're looking forward to talking with Samsung President & Chief Strategy Officer Young Sohn about this when he talks at next week's MobileBeat event in SF]

Boxee was initially looking for a fresh round of funding to add to the $26.5 million it previously raised. However, the company shifted gears and began looking for a potential buyer in the last few months. If true, Samsung’s $30 million offer would help Boxee investors make their money back. The offer is probably lower than Boxee wanted, as VentureBeat’s sources previously said.

Boxee began as a media software company and eventually as a device maker through its partnership with D-Link on the Boxee Box set-top box. The startup attempt to “pivot” away from providing open-source software for desktops and TVs over the last year was ill-received by its biggest supporters. And its new Boxee TV/Cloud DVR storage service (for recording live programming from HD broadcast signals or cable TV) also wasn’t a huge hit with consumers despite providing apps to access Netflix, Vudu, Spotify, and others.

The news of Boxee’s sale to Samsung was first reported by Israel business site The Marker (Google Translate). While Boxee has an office in New York City, the startup still has plenty of ties in Israel. The report indicates that Samsung will keep about 40 Boxee employees — with about half of those employees working from Israel. Samsung is also said to use Boxee’s media platform technology to help power its smart TVs.

While Boxee did say an official statement was due out later this week, it seems that the company has already updated its website with a message. It will continue to support both the Boxee Box and Boxee TV devices for the immediate future, but it will discontinue its Cloud DVR service July 10 — meaning all previously recorded programming will be deleted.

Here’s the statement from Boxee’s site:

We’re pleased to announce that the Boxee team will be joining Samsung.

We started on this journey six years ago, and have been at the forefront of the changing TV and video landscape. We believe that over the next few years the video market will change even more than it has in the past few decades.

Joining Samsung means we will be able to work on products that marry the best hardware and software in the TV space, products that will be used by tens of millions of people and will help to shape the future of TV.

We are excited about the next chapter for our team.

For Boxee users, we’re working behind the scenes to ensure there’s minimal impact to your devices. However, the beta Cloud DVR functionality we provided to certain Boxee TV users will be discontinued on July 10th. You will not have access to your existing recordings after that date. We realize many of you loved the service, and we’re sorry it won’t be available moving forward.

We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve built, and we want to thank you for being a part of our journey.

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