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January 13, 2014

Facebook to Buy Branch for $15M, Sources Say

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Facebook has added a new start-up to its collection: Branch.

Branch — an Internet forum tool that enables its users to create ‘branches’ to hold discussions and invite their friends to participate — is a good fit for the social network as it tries to expand its user base.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but The Verge, citing sources “familiar with the deal,” said Facebook is shelling out roughly $15 million for the New York Start-up.

Branch CEO Josh Miller announced the deal in a Facebook post.

“After two years building Branch and Potluck, I am thrilled to announce that we will be continuing our mission at Facebook,” he wrote.

Branch last year launched Potluck, an iPhone app that enables users to “find out what’s going on and chat about it with friends.”

Branch got its start two years ago thanks to the backing of Obvious, an investor group create by Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone.

Miller said Branch “will be forming Facebook’s Conversations group, based in New York City, with the goal of helping people connect with others around their interests. Their pitch to us was: “Build Branch at Facebook scale.”

“Although the products we build will be reminiscent of Branch and Potluck, those services will live on outside of Faceboo,” he wrote. “A more thoughtful note and details to come soon but I am writing this haphazardly from a mountain in Japan (I was tipped that the story was going to leak while on vacation).”

The full nine-person Branch team will be absorbed as part of the acquisition.