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RealNetworks to acquire WiderThan for $350 M

Wed, 09/13/2006 - 7:22am
Brian Santo, CED

RealNetworks will buy WiderThan for approximately $350 million, gaining an even greater international presence and strengthening its position in the global handset market.

WiderThan is a rapidly growing provider of ringback tones, music-on-demand and other mobile entertainment services to more than 50 wireless carriers in more than 25 countries, including SK Telecom in South Korea, Verizon Wireless in the U.S., and Bharti Airtel in India.

Together, ringback tones (RBT) and Music-on-Demand (MOD) constitute key emerging services in a mobile entertainment market, which according to Juniper Research will grow from $15 billion in 2005 to $38 billion in 2009, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25 percent.

According to ABI Research, RBT will grow from $65 million in 2005 to $2.5 billion in 2009, a CAGR of 149 percent. Global MOD revenues are expected to grow from $252 million in 2005 to $4.8 billion in 2009, a CAGR of 109 percent, according to ABI.

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