Bellevue-based Blucora reportedly plans to enter a bidding war for ailing gadget retailer Brookstone, a move that would help diversify its Internet-heavy revenue stream.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Blucora is readying an all-cash bid for Brookstone. The New Hampshire-based retailer has about 240 stores in malls and airports.
The retailer said last week it was in negotiations to sell itself to mall-based retailer Spencer Spirit Holdings; to facilitate the sale, Brookstone said it was considering a pre-negotiated Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
The Journal, citing confidential sources, said Spencer Spirit is offering $120 million in cash and the assumption of the retailer’s debt.
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Blucora, which declined to comment on the report of its planned bid, seems to have plenty of cash for such a potential move. It ended 2013 with cash and short-term investments amounting to $334 million.
The company was once known as InfoSpace, a search engine and online directory service. Its stock soared during the dot-com boom and later crashed amid controversy over its earnings statements.
After a long process of reinvention, the 500-employee company acquired TaxAct, a purveyor of tax-preparation software and services; and Monoprice, a low-cost online retailer of consumer electronics.
A majority of its $666 million revenue last year still came from Internet search, but e-commerce and tax-software operations yielded 35 percent of the revenue, the company says.
In 2013, the company posted a $24.4 million profit, up 8 percent from the previous year.
After the early Monday report about its planned bid, Blucora shares closed up 3 percent at $19.69. The company’s market capitalization is at $831 million.
Ángel González: 206-464-2250 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @gonzalezseattle