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Real to acquire Listen.com

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RealNetworks has gobbled up Listen.com for close to $36 million, the companies announced today.

RealNetworks plans to add Listen.com's Rhapsody music subscription service to its own RealOne SuperPass service. The company wants to nab some of Listen.com's streaming and caching technology as well as its music and radio services to build out the tunes offered on SuperPass.

RealNetworks helped keep the struggling Listen.com in business earlier this year with a cash infusion.

It's been a rough journey for online music sellers. Subscription services have often failed to work as billed and don't have the same attractive pricing model of free P2P networks.

Still, RealNetworks has gone a long way in improving its service and bringing more types of content online. The SuperPass system works significantly better now than it did at launch.

The companies expect the transaction to close in the late second quarter or early third quarter. ®

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