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Twitter Nets Social-TV Startup Bluefin

Twitter’s acquisition of Bluefin Labs, a startup that analyzes online chatter related to TV programming and sells that data, is a clear signal that the social-media giant views TV as core to its future.

Bluefin clients include CBS, Discovery Communications, Turner Broadcasting System, Fox, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Mars.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Privately held Twitter is paying between $90 million and $100 million for Bluefin, according to multiple reports.

“We believe that Bluefin’s data-science capabilities and social-TV expertise will help us create innovative new ad products and consumer experiences in the exciting intersection of Twitter and TV,” Twitter chief operating officer Ali Rowghani wrote in a blog post.

According to Twitter, the Bluefin acquisition will build on its exclusive partnership with Nielsen. Under that deal, announced in December, the companies plan to develop the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating, based on the platform developed by SocialGuide, which Nielsen acquired last fall.

Twitter intends to “honor existing Bluefin customer contracts, but we will not continue to sell Bluefin’s product suite beyond the existing contracts,” Rowghani said.

Bluefin had raised $20 million from investors including Time Warner Inc., SoftBank Capital, Redpoint Ventures and Lerer Ventures.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Bluefin was founded in 2008 by two former MIT Research Lab scientists.