Mary Hodder has the scoop. This is an interesting story for two reasons: it could have strong effects on the blog dot-coms, and it's a great example of a company that was built to be sold.
Effects on the blog dot-coms: Bloglines has a large user base, rivalled in size and service lock-in only by LiveJournal. Although the interface emphasizes the aggregator, Bloglines is also designed to support a fast and excellent blog search engine. Coupled with the extensive data Bloglines has about who reads what, Ask Jeeves has just acquired a wealth of information that can help them produce better search results.
Built to be sold: Mark Fletcher, who previously built and sold ONEList (now Yahoo! groups), knows something about acquisitions. He built Bloglines to be scalable from the start; I've never heard of it being slow or inaccessible. I'd guess it's not going to be hard to tweak its interfaces to the new brand. I am curious about the Bloglines (or parent company, Trustic) employees—are they mostly contractors, with no promise of long-term employment? Have they been compensated with equity in anticipation of a liquidity event? Did they just move to Ask Jeeves? Or did they just get laid off while Fletcher pocketed $N million dollars?
Oh yeah, it would be interesting to know how much Mr. Jeeves paid. I'm pretty sure Bloglines wasn't in any hurry to get sold, and I think it's worth a lot to a search engine company. Yahoo bought ONEList for $432M in stock, but that was in 2000; that stock would now be worth about $277M. Adjusting for hype and a hazy notion of comparative value, I'd guess Bloglines garnered $30-50M. But I'm hoping we'll get more information.