Intuit said Monday that it will acquire Mint.com in a deal valued at $170 million. Intuit will keep Mint.com and its Quicken Online site and put Aaron Patzer, Mint's CEO, in charge of its personal finance group.
According to a statement, Mint.com will give Intuit "another fast-growing consumer brand and a highly successful Software as a Service (SaaS) offering." TechCrunch first reported the deal, which has garnered a good bit of buzz.
Intuit CEO Brad Smith has been aiming to become a leading SaaS company so it can spread its bets across multiple platforms including the desktop and mobile.
Mint.com founder and Patzer says the big appeal for the company was combining its user interface with Intuit's market heft. Intuit said "Mint.com’s innovative capabilities can be applied broadly to millions of Intuit consumer and small business customers."
Smart Planet: Why Intuit’s purchase of Mint.com is so smart
The two parties appear to be a good match. Intuit can take Mint's 'ways to save' feature and apply it across its network. Mint.com can benefit from Intuit's relationships with financial institutions for better integration.
Mint.com will become the primary online personal finance management service that is offered directly to consumers by Intuit. Quicken Online will connect Quicken customers across desktop, online and mobile to deliver easy, anytime-anywhere access.
That approach lends credence to the theory that the Mint.com purchase is about two things:
- Taking out a pesky rival before it becomes dangerous.
- Gaining multiple channels to move Intuit's other products such as Quickbooks and Turbo Tax.
When the deal is done, in the fourth quarter Mint.com will be lumped into Intuit's consumer group. Patzer will become general manager of the personal finance group reporting to Dan Maurer, senior vice president of Intuit's consumer group.
Intuit expects the Mint.com purchase to cut its non-GAAP earnings for fiscal 2010 by 2 cents a share. GAAP earnings will be cut by 3 cents.
My take: Overall, I like the deal from a strategic perspective. Here's why it's smart for both sides:
- Mint.com had a nice initial base, but would have hit headwinds from folks that remain skeptical about consolidating accounts with a startup.
- Mint will benefit from the association with Intuit and gain more clout to forge partnerships with financial institutions.
- Intuit absorbs a potential competitor for Quicken Online.
- Intuit gains expertise and perhaps some user interface mojo---assuming Patzer sticks around.