India’s IMImobile Acquires UK Mobile Company, Win

IMImobile, an Indian provider of mobile data services, has acquired Win, a U.K. mobile and wireless data services company, which has a large number of clients in Europe.

Win is a provider of mobile content, messaging and payment services to mobile network operators and enterprises, including Vodafone, T-Mobile, and the BBC. The company's shares were traded on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market for smaller growing companies.

IMImobile said on Thursday that it has completed its acquisition of Win for US$26 million. The company approached the Win board in January having secured funding for a cash offer.

The acquisition, which has resulted in a company with over 600 staff, will give IMImobile access to the European market where Win has relationships with enterprises and telecommunications operators, said Vishwanath Alluri, chairman and CEO of IMImobile.

Win has about 300 customers across Europe, and its services reach about 300 million to 400 million users, said Graham Rivers, Win's former CEO, who became an executive director of IMImobile after the acquisition.

About 70 percent of IMImobile's revenue comes from India, though it also has customers outside the country like MTN Group in South Africa, and some customers in Europe, he said.

IMImobile acquired in 2008 a digital content delivery services provider in the U.K. called dx3, as part of its plan to expand in Europe. It acquired in the next year the Music2You music download and subscription service previously offered by Nokia Siemens Networks.

IMImobile and Win are similar in that they both deliver applications in a managed services model to telecommunications companies, Alluri said. The managed service model helps customers reduce time to market for new services, and cut down on capital expenditure, he said.

In the managed service model, the application, hosted and managed by IMImobile, is integrated with the operator's network, and the service is provided to customers on a revenue sharing basis.

Some of the applications that were offered by Win in Europe will now be introduced in India where operators are planning to roll out 3G mobile services, Rivers said. Win has acquired expertise and application knowledge in the 3G area in Europe, he added.

Indian operators are attempting to boost their revenue from value-added services as competition has driven down voice tariffs and average revenue per user (ARPU).

Operators have access to subscriber information and location data that could be invaluable for a new generation of applications in the country, Alluri said.

Some of the Win applications for large enterprises like broadcasters, insurance, and banks will also be offered in India, Alluri said.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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