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5th Finger gets acquired in US by CRM player

Merkle dials up Aussie mobile pioneers

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Australian mobile technology solutions pioneer 5th Finger has been acquired by US based customer relationship marketing outfit Merkle for an undisclosed sum.

Merkle snapped up the company, which expanded internationally in 2007 setting up a HQ out of San Francisco, to expand its CRM capabilities in mobile.

5th Finger CEO and one of the original Australian founders, Patrick Collins, said "we are very excited to be uniting with Merkle. We can now bring 5th Finger's customers a deeper, more analytics driven mobile solution, which aligns with our vision of delivering increasingly relevant, engaging and successful mobile programs to market for our clients."

The 5th Finger brand will be retained, positioned within the company's Digital Solutions Group. The company said that the integration of Merkle's core competencies with the new technologies available through 5th Finger's RedShop Technology, will allow for better customer engagement, customer value, and conversion to support the true integration of mobile commerce, marketing and CRM.

The Australian dotcom start-up was founded in Sydney in 1999 and was acquired by ninemsn in 2006. The founders of 5th Finger then established an independent international operation in North America, securing US$7 million in Australian venture capital funding from Starfish Ventures.

At the time of the VC deal in 2008, Starfish Ventures partner Malcolm Thornton said in less than one year, 5th Finger had already established a strong foothold in the US market and “we believe the company will enjoy as high a level of success in the US market as in Australia.”

On the Merkle acquisition, Starfish said that it has stayed close to the team during the lifecycle of the business. “It is a testament to the drive and capacity of Patrick Collins and Steen Andersson that they have grown such a substantial US footprint and ended up joining forces with Merkle, the natural acquirer of the business,” the Starfish blog said. ®

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