Facebook has agreed to acquire Snaptu, an Israeli startup that makes Java-based feature phone apps, for an estimated $70 million. The acquisition, for which neither company would reveal financial details, is expected to close within a few weeks.
Earlier this year, Facebook worked with the mobile development firm to build a feature phone app that is accessible free of data charges in various overseas markets. The company says the Facebook for Feature Phones app currently works on more than 2,500 devices.
Snaptu was founded four years ago in London, with offices in Tel Aviv and Silicon Valley. The company raised venture capital funding from Carmel Ventures and Sequoia Capital.
"Our goal when we founded Snaptu in 2007 was to provide useful and innovative services to the 95 percent of mobile users that don't have access to advanced smartphones," a Snaptu spokesperson said in a statement. "We soon decided that working as part of the Facebook team offered the best opportunity to keep accelerating the pace of our product development. And joining Facebook means we can make an even bigger impact on the world. We'll have more updates on Snaptu soon, and we'll be working hard to offer a richer and more advanced Facebook app on virtually every mobile phone. During this transition period, we expect Snaptu will continue to operate as it does today. We'd like to thank everyone involved in the development of Snaptu, especially our millions of loyal users. We can't wait to get started at Facebook."
"As part of our goal to offer people around the world the opportunity to connect and share on mobile devices, we’re excited to confirm that we recently signed an agreement to acquire Snaptu," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We expect the acquisition to close in a few weeks, subject to customary closing conditions. Snaptu is a startup run by a highly innovative collection of engineers and entrepreneurs, who we already work closely with to offer a Facebook mobile application for feature phones. As part of Facebook, Snaptu's team and technology will enable us to deliver an even better Facebook mobile experience on feature phones more quickly."