By Cara Lombardo and Dana Cimilluca
Facebook Inc. (NAS:FB) is nearing a deal to buy Kustomer, a startup that specializes in customer-service platforms and chatbots, according to people familiar with the matter.
The deal, which could be completed as soon as Monday afternoon assuming talks don’t fall apart, would value New York-based Kustomer at a little over $1 billion, the people said. Closely held Kustomer was valued at $710 million in a private funding round roughly a year ago, according to PitchBook.
Kustomer already has a relationship with Facebook. Its offerings allow companies to aggregate and respond to customer inquiries that come in through Facebook Messenger. In October, Kustomer said it also began integrating with Facebook’s Instagram messaging.
Facebook, which has been in the spotlight for its handling of political and other content on its platform, has been making a big push into what Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has called “social commerce.” This deal could further that effort. In May, the social-media giant launched Facebook Shops, which lets companies create online stores through Facebook and Instagram.
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