Sybase to buy messaging vendor Mobile 365

Acquisition will enable Sybase to offer managed services hosted on Mobile 365's global network

Sybase is adding to its mobile portfolio, grabbing messaging service provider Mobile 365 for about $425 million in cash.

Sybase sells applications to enterprises to help their employees work in the field. With this acquisition, it will be able to offer managed services that are hosted on Mobile 365's global network, said Marty Beard, senior vice president of corporate development and marketing at Sybase. The deal will also put Sybase in the business of carrying mobile messages among wireless carriers and handling billing for those messages, which Mobile 365 does now, he said. Beard sees growing opportunities in both areas.

Sybase can now go to companies such as Yahoo or Nike and offer to sell them a hosted enterprise application or to carry out a mobile marketing campaign to consumers' cell phones over the Mobile 365 network, he said.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Mobile 365 will become Sybase Mobile 365, a wholly owned subsidiary led by Beard as its president. Sybase expects the acquisition to add to its profits within 12 months after the deal closes.

The company's approximately 330 employees, mostly working in London and Singapore as well as its Chantilly, Virginia, headquarters, will stay on where they are, he said. The actual purchase price may change depending on Mobile 365's working capital as of the closing date.

Mobile 365 is privately held and had revenue of about $90 million in its fiscal year ended March 31. The company has its own network for carrying messages using SMS (Short Message Service), WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) and instant messaging. That network links in to major operators such as Verizon Wireless, Vodafone Group, Cingular Wireless, and China Mobile Communications.

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