The U.S. Internet giant AOL today announced the acquisition of an Israeli startup, the financial news and information search technology company, The Relegence Corporation

The last time AOL did business in Israel, it awed the local hi-tech scene by buying Mirabilis, the startup behind ICQ, for the enormous sum of $407 million. Since then bigger deals have been done, but at the time it was a show-stopper.

AOL's acquisition agreement with privately-held Relegence was signed and closed on Monday, November 6, the company said.

It didn't disclose the financial terms of the deal, but market sources think it's in the range of $50 million to $100 million.

Relegence and its 60 employees will continue to be headquartered in New York, with offices in London and Tel Aviv. AOL clarified that Relegence will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AOL, and will continue to partner with and serve financial services firms.

Founded in 1999 as enow by its chairman and chief technology officer Edo Segal and Arik Kopelman, who is not at the company any more  - Relegence is a global technology company putting real time information, news and knowledge in the hands of end users moments after it is published.

It makes its money selling subscription-based services that offer real-time discovery, notification and delivery of information, connecting customers to cross-media content generated from anywhere in the world.

Using its own proprietary technology, Relegence simultaneously monitors, indexes, and filters more than 20,000 unique, global sources of live content streams - such as local and international newswires, print media, television and cable networks, regulatory feeds, corporate and information web sites, internet bulletin boards - and deliver to a user's desktop only the information which is relevant to his or her individual search criteria.

Additionally, Relegence can comprehensively integrate internal content streams and programming with external content and create a powerful tool for users to manage and utilize mission-critical information in their day-to-day activities and enable them to make more timely and accurate choices and decisions.

AOL means to leverage these capabilities for its ongoing efforts to develop and deploy its publishing and content management platform.

By integrating Relegence's technologies, AOL saya it will be in a position to better serve consumers with a comprehensive and timely content experience.

Since its establishment, Relegence has doubled its revenue each year. This year it can be expected to generate a few million dollars income. The company has 170 customers in 30 countries, including eight of the world's ten biggest investment banks, Segal says.

Relegence is AOL's fifth announced acquisition of 2006, following Userplane and GameDaily in August, Lightningcast in May, and Truveo in January. Other recent corporate acquisitions by AOL include MusicNow; Weblogs; Xdrive; and Wildseed - all in 2005.