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VeriSign enters MMS market with Lightsurf buy

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VeriSign is to buy LightSurf Technologies, the privately-held mobile-phone photography firm, for $270m in stock. The deal will enable VeriSign to offer multimedia messaging capabilities and interoperability services to carriers.

VeriSign already sells a number of security and Domain Name System (DNS) services to carriers, but its move into picture messaging is a surprise. LightSurf’s managed services are a "natural fit with VeriSign,” according to VerSign CEO Stratton Sclavos.

Philippe Kahn, chairman and founder of LightSurf (and also founder of Borland), is also “pumped up” about the deal. "LightSurf's vision and leadership with Picture/Video-Messaging and MMS end-to-end-solutions can be leveraged by VeriSign to benefit both organizations," he said.

VeriSign expects the LightSurf acquisition to generate at least $30m in extra revenues for the remaining period of 2005, providing it closea the deal in the first quarter as expected. The acquisition has been approved by both boards of directors, and is subject to standard regulatory and other approvals. VeriSign will gain around 250 full-time LightSurf employees in California and Bangalore.

LightSurf's technology enables mobile subscribers to exchange pictures, video, and other forms of multimedia content. It supports a broad range of mobile devices and wireless networks, and its services are used by telcos including Sprint, Bell Mobility, mm02, Telecom New Zealand and Qwest. Additionally, the company works closely with leading handset manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics, Motorola, Sanyo, LG and Toshiba to develop and deploy multimedia messaging services. ®

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