VeriSign adds wireless portal provider

VeriSign Inc. signed a definitive agreement to purchase German wireless Internet portal Jamba in a $273 million cash and stock deal, the company said Monday.

VeriSign expects to close its acquisition of the Berlin-based firm at the end of the second quarter, subject to German regulatory approval and other conditions that the company did not specify. The $237 million purchase price will consist of 65 percent cash and 35 percent VeriSign stock.

Jamba provides wireless content, including ring tones, graphics, Java games, news and Internet shopping for mobile phone users through its own Web site and distribution partners. Summit Partners, a private equity and venture capital firm with offices in Palo Alto, Calif., Boston and London, is one of its main investors.

The acquisition fits into VeriSign's communications services unit, which provides carriers with infrastructure services letting users connect to and conduct transactions over any networks, the company said. It also is in keeping with the Mountain View, Calif., company's plans to expand its portfolio of wireless services and to further penetrate tier-one carriers and international markets.

"By joining forces with Jamba, VeriSign gains a robust content mediation platform, relationships with 13 European carriers, sourcing arrangement with over 180 content providers, and a solid, growing customer base in a key geographical market," said Stratton Sclavos, VeriSign's chairman and chief executive officer.

VeriSign provides critical infrastructure services to both the commercial and government sectors. It employs 2,500 people, and will gain around 300 full-time Jamba workers in the transaction.

VeriSign had revenue of nearly $1.1 billion and a net loss of $259.9 million in 2003. The company expects the Jamba deal to contribute approximately $70 million in net incremental revenue in the second half of 2004.

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