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Synchronica acquires Nokia's messaging service, six million of you care


Nokia's going through some pretty awkward public growing pains. After setting its Symbian OS out to pasture in favor of Microsoft's own mobile solution, the self-proclaimed world leader in mobility is gutting even more of its old software house -- this time, its Operator Branded Messaging (OBM) service gets cut loose. Sold to mobile developer Synchronica, the white label OBM software that combines email and IM clients won't be pushing daises anytime soon thanks to a six million strong user base and continued support from Nokia Series 40 devices. Also bundled up in the sale are 250 of Nokia's former employees, as well as source code, and ten existing contracts the company hopes will lead to a "strong foothold in the...North American operator market." The deal is a sure shot in the messaging arm for the UK-based developer and is destined to become yet another footnote in Nokia's pre-Windows Phone past.

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Synchronica to Acquire Nokia's Operator-branded Messaging Business

Royal Tunbridge Wells, June 30, 2011. - Synchronica plc (AIM: SYNC, TSX-V: SYN), the emerging markets leader in next-generation mobile messaging services, today announced the conditional agreement to acquire Nokia's operator-branded messaging business, which provides white label mobile email and instant messaging services across a wide range of devices to operators in North America.

The acquisition will provide Synchronica with a successful and complementary mobile messaging business and a strong foothold in the strategically important North American operator market. Combined with more than 80 existing carrier contracts in Europe, Latin America, Africa, Russia, and Asia, Synchronica aims to become the global leader in next-generation mobile messaging.

With Nokia's assignment of ten operator contracts in North America, Synchronica's total addressable market across all operator customers worldwide will extend to 1.8 billion end-users.

The terms of the acquisition include an assignment of mobile operator contracts, as well as sourcecode of the related Nokia Messaging client and server software.

As part of the deal, Synchronica and Nokia will enter into a long-term relationship in which Synchronica will provide the messaging software which Nokia will continue to pre-load on Nokia Series 40 phones.

Synchronica will assume responsibility for development, maintenance, and support of the Nokia Messaging software shipping with millions of Nokia devices and the gateway functionality for both Series 40 and Symbian devices. Approximately 250 employees, externals, and contractors are planned to transfer from Nokia to Synchronica.

The ten North American carrier contracts planned to be transferred to Synchronica include tier one carriers, such as AT&T, Bell Canada, Rogers Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless, with more than six million users actively using the email or IM service or both.
Synchronica Plans to Continue to Develop the Acquired Messaging Platform

The acquired messaging platform complements Synchronica's flagship, carrier-grade Mobile Gateway messaging infrastructure software. Synchronica plans to continue to develop the acquired messaging platform and to merge both products to create a superior solution with significantly enhanced functionality.

Synchronica Mobile Gateway provides operators and device manufacturers with next-generation messaging services including push email, instant messaging, and social networking. Mobile Gateway 6 features pre-RCS unified messaging capabilities, a presence-enabled address book, an ultra-lightweight J2ME client, support for XHTML browsers, and advanced document transcoding capabilities.

Nokia's operator-branded messaging technology enables mobile operators to affordably deliver an operator-branded email experience on mobile devices via an easy to use interface. MSN Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL, Gmail, and multiple other portal or ISP email services are all supported via a single client on a mobile device.

Similarly to email, multiple IM accounts, such as Google Talk, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, AOL, and others are accessible via the IM clients.

Synchronica's CEO Carsten Brinkschulte says: "This acquisition marks a key milestone for Synchronica as we move closer to our goal of becoming the leading global player for next-generation mobile messaging. Nokia's successful and highly complementary operator-branded messaging business will at a stroke transform Synchronica's scale, profitability, and geographic scope."

"We look forward to forging successful, long-term partnerships with the carrier customers in North America for providing mass market, operator-branded messaging services, as well as with Nokia for ongoing development and support of the Nokia messaging services", Brinkschulte adds.

The transaction is conditional on regulatory and shareholder approval and expected to close by end of July 2011.

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