Nokia sells messaging biz to UK’s Synchronica

Synchronica mobile gateway

The UK-based mobile messaging company Synchronica has inked a deal to take over Nokia’s operator-branded messaging business in a deal worth about $25 million—including a scant $4 million up front and warrants for some 18.3 million common shares in Synchronica. Synchronica plans to continue to operate and support Nokia’s messaging system, so existing partners and customers shouldn’t’ see any disruptions. Going forward, Synchronica plans to integrate Nokia’s messaging platform into its own carrier-grade Mobile Gateway messaging system.

Nokia’s operator-branded messaging operation came from the company’s acquisition of Canada’s Oz Communications back in 2008, and enables mobile operators to offer their own mobile email and messaging services that can tie into messaging platforms by Google, Microsoft, and AOL. The deal could turn into a significant revenue generator for Synchronica, since it comes with ten operator contracts, including service deals with North American mobile operators like Rogers and Telus in Canada, and AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint in the United States. Synchronica and Nokia will also ink a long-term deal where Synchronica will provide messaging software that will be preloaded on Nokia Series 40 phones, until that line eventually fades into memory as Nokia converts to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. However, Nokia has promised Symbian will live through “at least” 2016.

Until now, Synchronica’s operations have mostly been operating in emerging markets. The Nokia deal gives Synchronica a significant foothold in the North American mobile messaging market.

“This acquisition marks a key milestone for Synchronica as we move closer to our goal of becoming the leading global player for next-generation mobile messaging,” said Synchronica CEO Carsten Brinkschulte, in a statement. “Nokia’s successful and highly complementary operator-branded messaging business will at a stroke transform Synchronica’s scale, profitability, and geographic scope.”

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