Walmart Labs, the retail giant’s technology-focused research-and-development division, is acquiring social shopping site Luvocracy for an unnamed sum, according to a blog post from yesterday.

Luvocracy developed a social graph built on top of an e-commerce shopping engine. Users can see what products their trusted friends and family are liking, then buy the products they like without leaving the site.

But reports have said that Luvocracy has had some trouble finding its place in the world as a free-standing company since its launch in 2011, slimming down its staff and moving people around.

Today’s announcement could represent a relatively painless death for the company and investors.

Luvocracy raised a $11.5 million funding round from Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, RPM Ventures, XG Ventures, CrunchFund, Marissa Mayer, Ali Pincus, Jim Lanzone, and Tony Robbins last year. Bing Gordon, a partner at Kleiner Perkins joined Luvocracy board.

The startup’s 16 employees will now go to work for Walmart Labs. The startup’s leadership team includes people who used to work at Google, Yahoo, Pinterest, and eBay.

“We’re excited to have this super-talented team bring their knowledge and experience to help us redefine the shopping experience of the future,” Walmart Labs’ Ben Galbraith wrote in the blog post.

More information:

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at over 9,700 retail units under 69 different banners in 28 countries. With fiscal year 2011 sales of $419 billion, Walmart employs 2.1... read more »

Walmart’s experimentation with subscription-based commerce continues today, with the public launch of Goodies.co, a food subscription service featuring boxes of sample-sized treats shipped monthly. The service is the latest to emerge... read more »

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