Ninemsn to acquire mobile developer

Ninemsn plans to acquire Sydney-based Web content developer HWW as the Microsoft/Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd joint-venture looks to bolster its mobile presence next year. The companies yesterday announced Ninemsn would offer HWW shareholders a minimum price of AU$0.

Ninemsn plans to acquire Sydney-based Web content developer HWW as the Microsoft/Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd joint-venture looks to bolster its mobile presence next year.

The companies yesterday announced Ninemsn would offer HWW shareholders a minimum price of AU$0.3127 per share. HWW will recommend shareholders accept the bid.

HWW has gained some traction in mobile publishing with syndication sites such as yourTV.com.au and yourmovies.com.au.

Major carriers such as Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Hutchison all use the sites as part of their mobile content services.

However this hadn't been enough to save the developer from market reality, according to HWW chairman and co-founder Stephen Wall.

"The business is highly regarded as an award-winning mobile and digital content publisher, yet the current returns don't reflect its market position," he said.

"The digital content market is consolidating rapidly and accordingly this offer reflects a timely appraisal of the business assets.

"With Ninemsn I'm confident the HWW business and its people will be in good hands."

Ninemsn's proposed acquisition is the latest in a string of moves to ramp up its mobile services.

The joint-venture this year acquired mobile marketing company 5th Finger, appointed a group mobile director, and launched a number of new mobile sites and services.

"We recognise the leadership position HWW has developed in delivering entertainment information to a mobile audience," said Ninemsn chief executive officer Martin Hoffman.

"Today's proposal and the premium attached to it reflect our confidence in the unique combination of the HWW and Ninemsn mobile assets."

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