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Tickers in this Article: SFLY, FB
After Eastman Kodak and FujiFilm, ThisLife - a complete cloud-based solution for protecting, organizing and sharing photos and videos - has joined California-based personalized photo services company Shutterfly Inc.'s  (SFLY) photo storage and sharing arena.          

Per the deal, Shutterfly will layer ThisLife's technology into the Shutterfly platform. The collaboration of Shutterfly and ThisLife will strengthen the former's photo storage and sharing capabilities as well as enable the creation of products across the web and mobile efficiently.

With the capacity of storing 18 billion images, the customers will find it easier to store their photos at one place. Moreover, they will be able to access their photos irrespective of their location - from platforms such as Facebook Inc. (FB) and Picasa as well as from their mobile phones.

While being more GenNext technology-driven, ThisLife operates in the same vertical as Shutterfly. We believe this specific attribute made it a lucrative acquisition target. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This latest deal follows Shutterfly's acquisition of FujiFilm's photo creation and sharing website in October and Kodak Gallery's online photo services in the middle of last year.  These deals reinforce Shutterfly's industry leading position in the online photo business. The company will be able to leverage its online photo sharing as well as photo book business through these acquisitions.

Shutterfly is focused on growing its business inorganically. Apart from these acquisitions, Shutterfly, in the last three years, took control of a mobile application developing company - Penguin Digital; Israel-based photo software company - Photoccino and a leading online social expression and publishing services company - Tiny Prints as well as Nexo and TinyPictures. We believe that such strategic acquisitions augur well for Shutterfly and enable the company to enhance its portfolio and provide next generation photo solution.

However, we believe that Shutterfly's latest purchase is groundbreaking as it heads toward offerings based on cloud management services. This acquisition will take Shutterfly's infrastructure as well as services one step ahead.  

Shutterfly, a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock, is benefiting considerably from its scale advantage and vertical integration. We are also maintaining our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.
 

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