Perhaps it’s time for a little shakeout in the blogging world. The industry is getting mature enough. Om Malik is reporting that Six Apart, the San Francisco company that makes blogging tools TypePad and Movable Type, is buying LiveJournal, the Portland-based blogging service with 5 million-plus users.

No surprise here. The image of SixApart may be that of its modest, fresh-faced husband-and-wife founders, Ben and Mena Trott and the slick blogging tools they built. But there is a savvy business operation at work behind the scenes with a long-range view of the company’s future. Mena Trott realized last year that the small but rapidly growing company needed experienced executives to lift it to the next level, so she ceded leadership to Barak Berkowitz, a former Infoseek, Logitech and Apple Computer executive. Former valley VC and entrepreneur Andrew Anker also joined the company last year as executive vice president of corporate development.

Meanwhile, Six Apart has been planting its flags overseas, especially Japan, where it has licensed TypePad to Japan’s largest Internet service providers. The company also acquired French-owned Ublog last year to aid its efforts to break into the European, Middle East and African blogging markets.

Malik says of LiveJournal:
“Live Journal is very popular with teenagers and is built on an open source platform, and arguably is one of the largest open source projects on the web. Live Journal has been in talks with several other possible acquirers, though Six Apart is more of a natural fit. My sources tell me that all Live Journal employees are going to be retained.”

UPDATE: Lots of buzz in the blogging world about this deal. danah boyd examines the differences between the two companies and their users. “Movable Type is a product; LiveJournal is a community,” she says.