Boston Deal News: Digg, Bose, TripAdvisor, Vets First Choice, Examity

[Updated 4/26/18, 3:30 pm. See below.] Boston-area technology companies have played dealmaker lately, with notable mergers and acquisitions in augmented reality, online news curation, tourism tech, education, and veterinary software. Read on for details.

—Boston-based advertising technology firm BuySellAds has acquired online news aggregator Digg for an undisclosed price, according to a report by Fast Company. Digg was previously owned by New York-based venture incubator and investor Betaworks, which retains a minority stake in Digg after the deal with BuySellAds, BostInno reported. The Boston firm purchased Digg’s assets and brought on its editorial and business teams, while eight members of Digg’s technology team have been hired by Civil, a blockchain-enabled online publishing venture, Fast Company reported. [Info on Betaworks minority stake added.—Eds.]

Founded in 2004 in the Bay Area, Digg was one of the early social news sites and raised venture capital from Highland Capital Partners, Greylock Partners, Omidyar Network, and others. In 2012, it was reportedly sold in pieces to Betaworks, LinkedIn, and the Washington Post, according to a TechCrunch report that cited anonymous sources. After that, the core Digg business raised additional venture funding from news publisher Gannett and others, TechCrunch reported. [More info on 2012 deals added.—Eds.]

—Bose purchased Detour, a San Francisco-based developer of audio walking tours delivered via smartphone. Detour co-founder Andrew Mason—who was previously co-founder and CEO of Chicago-based online deal site Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN)—announced the Detour deal in a blog post. Mason said Bose paid an undisclosed price for Detour’s software and tour content, while the startup’s team is now working on Descript, an audio editing company led by Mason.

Bose, the Framingham, MA-based developer and manufacturer of high-end headphones and speakers, plans to integrate Detour’s content with Bose’s new augmented reality (AR) platform, Mason wrote. Read more about Bose’s AR plans in this recent Xconomy profile of the company’s venture capital group.

—Speaking of tourism technology, Needham, MA-based TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP) announced a deal to acquire Bokun, an Icelandic firm that sells business management software to companies operating tours, attractions, and other experiences. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

—Vets First Choice, a Portland, ME-based maker of software for veterinary clinics, announced a merger with Henry Schein’s animal health business, which is being spun off from the Melville, NY-based company (NASDAQ: HSIC), which will now focus on selling medical and dental equipment, software, and services. After the transaction closes, Henry Schein shareholders are expected to own 63 percent of the new company, and Vets First Choice shareholders will own about 37 percent, according to a press release. Henry Schein will also receive $1 billion to $1.25 billion in cash.

The new company will be called Vets First Corp. It will be based in Portland and led by Vets First Choice CEO and founder Ben Shaw.

Vets First Choice raised $223 million from a group of investors last year.

—Examity, a Natick, MA-based provider of remote proctoring and identity verification services for tests that students take online, said it acquired Atlanta-based rival BVirtual. Deal terms weren’t released. The acquisition expands Examity’s reach across the U.S. and Europe, according to a press release. Examity raised a $21 million venture funding round last year from University Ventures and Inherent Group.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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