Intuit Buys Homestead for $170 Million

Free hosting pioneer Homestead has been acquired by Intuit (INTU) for $170 million.

Remember Homestead? In the dot-com era it offered free ad-supported web sites, and along with competitors GeoCities and Angelfire provided starter sites for many webmasters in training. Homestead has since switched to paid hosting and focused on leveraging its user-friendly web-based sitebuilder tools. Today Homestead was acquired by Intuit (INTU) for $170 million.

Intuit's aim is to use Homestead's software to help its customers build e-commerce stores, a competitive market in which Yahoo Small Business (YHOO) is the market leader and Go Daddy and Network Solutions are growing fast. Intuit has the advantage of a large base of existing small business customers using its Quicken and QuickBooks financial software.

"This acquisition supports our growth strategy in small business by addressing an underserved need, and continues Intuit's move beyond financial management solutions into helping small businesses solve other important problems," said Brad Smith, senior vice president of Intuit's small business group. "Homestead helps us solve one of small businesses' highest priorities