Vodafone, the world's largest mobile phone group by revenue, bids $30 million to acquire Swedish GPS software firm Wayfinder. Vodafone hopes the deal will bolster it mobile Internet offerings by providing local search, advertising and direction services.
LONDON (Reuters) - Vodafone Group Plc is to make a cash offer for a Swedish navigational software firm to
help improve its mobile Internet offering by providing local search,
advertising and direction services.
Vodafone, the world's largest mobile phone group by revenue, has
targeted growing mobile data revenues as the mobile market becomes
saturated, and the acquisition of Wayfinder Systems could help it attract and keep customers.
The offer values the Swedish company at 239 million Swedish crowns ($30 million).
"The Wayfinder software enables mobile phones to display user-friendly
maps as well as deliver voice directions to drivers in the same way as
dedicated navigation devices," Pieter Knook, Internet Services Director
at Vodafone, said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Wayfinder's exceptional expertise in this space and technology
capabilities will enable Vodafone to develop a suite of exciting new
location-aware products and services."
Wayfinder's services are available in 19 languages.
Analyst Paolo Pescatore of CCS Insight said he expected Vodafone to offer a branded location based service.
"Vodafone sees a big opportunity in this area which will open up new
avenues," he told Reuters. "I'd imagine it will be core to social
networking and advertising."
Vodafone said it would offer 12 crowns per share, compared with Monday's closing price of 3.40 crowns.
Vodafone said Wayfinder's board recommended the bid, and Wayfinder
shareholders, controlling some 45 percent of shares, have agreed to
accept the offer.
($1=8.032 Swedish Crown)
(Reporting by London Equities newsroom and Tarmo Virki in Helsinki; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Hans Peters)Copyright Reuters 2008. All rights reserved. Users may download
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