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Box acquires Crocodoc to expand document-viewing features

By Gerry Shih

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Box Inc, a cloud-storage company, said on Thursday it has agreed to acquire Crocodoc, a small start-up that provides the technology behind document viewers found on some of the world's most popular websites, including Facebook and Dropbox.

The acquisition would provide Box's users with more interactive features such as the ability to annotate documents or create slide shows, said Aaron Levie, Box's chief executive.

Levied declined to disclose the terms of the deal. Crocodoc, a seven-person start-up founded in 2007 by four engineering students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, had previously raised roughly $1 million from angel investors.

At the heart of Crocodoc's technology is the ability to convert documents in such formats as Word and PDF into ones more suitable for the interactive Web.

Crocodoc said its licensing deals with existing customers, which include LinkedIn Corp, would continue without interruption although the technology could be rebranded.

Faced with competition from giants such as Microsoft Corp and Google Inc, young storage companies like Box and Dropbox in recent months have sought to differentiate themselves and aggressively flesh out their functionality through small acquisitions.

Privately held Dropbox, one of Box's fiercest rivals, signaled it would also expand its offerings when in March it snapped up the design team behind Mailbox, an email app.

(This version of the story corrects the spelling of Box CEO's surname corrected to Levie in the second paragraph.)

(Reporting By Gerry Shih)

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