GetGlue Acquired by Competitor in $73 Million Deal

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[More from Mashable: ‘Once Upon a Time’ Breaks GetGlue Record]

In an unexpected move, Viggle Inc., a 2-year-old company that describes itself as a "popular television loyalty service," has acquired social TV check-in app GetGlue for a mix of cash and stock, both companies announced Monday morning.

Viggle is paying $25 million in cash and 48.3 million shares of stock for the startup, placing the value of the transaction at approximately $73 million. It's not yet clear whether GetGlue will retain its name and brand identity. GetGlue CEO Alex Iskold will assume a "senior executive position" and board of directors role at Viggle, according to a public statement issued by both companies. All 34 GetGlue employees will join Viggle.

[More from Mashable: Unlock Mashable’s GetGlue Sticker]

The acquisition comes as something of a surprise, given that Viggle is a much younger and lesser-known brand. GetGlue, which was launched in 2007, has 3.2 million registered users, while Viggle, which was founded in mid-2010 and launched its social check-in app a little less than a year ago, has 1.2 million.

The two companies were previously considered competitors in the "second screen space," as both offered virtual and tangible rewards, like gift cards, for check-ins and other forms of engagement with TV programs. Their combined scale -- both in users and network partnerships -- will help them take a lead in an increasingly crowded market, Viggle CEO Robert F.X. Sillerman indicated in a statement.

How Viggle will afford GetGlue is another matter. The company reported a loss of $96.5 million on revenues of $1.7 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, according to an 10-K filing with the SEC. In fact, Viggle can't even afford to acquire GetGlue: The deal will only close if the company can successfully raise $60 million in debt financing, Greg Consiglio, president and COO of Viggle, told me.

Inside GetGlue’s Fun-Filled Office

Stickers A-Go-Go

GetGlue is a sticker paradise. Huge variants of GetGlue stickers adorn the walls of the office from the elevator to the break room.

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This story originally published on Mashable here.

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