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Skype buys group text messaging service GroupMe for $85 million

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Skype has agreed to purchase popular group chat company GroupMe for a reported $85 million. News of the purchase was first reported by Michael Arrington on TechCrunch, and was soon after officially announced by Skype.

GroupMe enables users to create custom groups made up of contacts from their smartphones, and then send text messages to the whole group at once. The service has become popular for its ability to send messages across various handset platforms. And as of February, GroupMe users were sending out about 1 million text messages per day.

Based in New York City, GroupMe was created at the TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon in 2010. The company has since raised nearly $12 million in funding from a variety of venture capitalist firms, including Betaworks, First Round Capital, Khosla Ventures and General Catalyst, among others.

According to Skype executives, GroupMe will be incorporated into Skype as an additional text messaging feature.

“Skype and GroupMe have a shared vision of creating applications and experiences that are the daily communications choice for a billion people. We will continue to seek the top talent and technology to make that vision a reality,” said Tony Bates, Skype Chief Executive Officer, in a prepared statement. “The GroupMe team has created an incredibly sticky group messaging experience that works across mobile devices and platforms, making this a perfect addition to the voice, video and text products in the Skype family.”

Of course, the elephant in the room here is that Skype itself is currently in the process of being acquired by Microsoft. That $8.5 billion was announced back in May. The deal has already received approval from the Federal Trade Commission and the United States Department of Justice, which together act as anti-trust regulators in the US. International regulators have yet to approve the deal.

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