May 6, 2014, 10:38 AM

Wal-Mart’s e-commerce arm acquires an online product search specialist

In its 12th acquisition in three years, @WalmartLabs brings on board Adchemy to augment search, data analytics and marketing.

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@WalmartLabs, the e-commerce research arm of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., says it’s not a retailer based in Silicon Valley but rather an Internet company inside the world’s largest retailer. It added to its Internet expertise today as Wal-Mart announced today the acquisition of Adchemy, a product search firm. It is the 12th technology acquisition for Wal-Mart in the three years since it launched @WalmartLabs—and the second in 2014.

Established in 2004, Adchemy focused on product search and lead generation. Before the acquisition, Adchemy had been working to perfect algorithmic search, basically, engineering a product search so that it responded to context rather than by matching keywords. For example, a consumer searching for a lightweight laptop might see results for laptops under 4 pounds rather than laptops with the word lightweight in the description, the company says. Adchemy sold in 2013 its lead generation business for an undisclosed amount.

“This latest acquisition continues our quest to build best-in-class e-commerce capabilities in-house,” @WalmartLabs writes in a blog post. “We have been hiring highly-talented teams organically and are augmenting that by acquiring talent to build our own technologies that can scale with our global business.”

Wal-Mart did not release the terms of the sale, but it says it’s one of the biggest in terms of adding employees to @WalmartLabs, based in San Bruno, CA. Sixty Adchemy employees will join @WalmartLabs, bringing the total number of employees to over 2,100. Among the new additions are Rohit Deep, vice president of engineering; Ethan Batraski, vice president of products and former head of search innovation at Yahoo; and Esteban Arcuate, head of research and another former Yahoo staffer.

Wal-Mart’s purchase of Adchemy follows its acquisition of recipe discovery and meal-planning service Yumprint earlier this year. Wal-Mart bought in 2013 four technology companies, including web acceleration firm Torbit and predictive analytics firm Inkiru.

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