Jajah, an Internet-telephony company, has been acquired by Telefonica in a $207 million all-cash deal, the companies said this morning. The deal is subject to regulatory approval by CNC, the Spanish competition authority, according to a release by Telefonica.
The company said the purchase of Jajah "significantly enriches Telefónica's capabilities to offer cutting-edge communications services for customers online -- whenever, wherever and however they want."
Earlier this year, I wrote about how Jajah was white-labeling its mobile offering so companies could come in and offer mobile apps to use the service to launch Web-based phone calls. I wrote about how the scenario would allow app developers to turn the iPod Touch into an AT&T-free iPhone using a Jajah app.
What's interesting here is that a telecommunications company, not a technology company, bought Jajah. eBay paid $2.6 billion for Skype back in 2005. In 2007, Google acquired Grand Central for what was believed to be about $50 million. It later named that service Google Voice. And Google Voice, of course, captured headlines when Apple reportedly rejected the GV iPhone app and became the subject of inquiry at the Federal Communications Commission. The buzz for some time was that AT&T - or Apple - wasn't all that warm to the idea of being able bypass the device's service provider to place calls.
With the Telefonica purchase, the company will likely highlight how it is integrating Jajah services when the time comes to roll them out - instead of fighting a technology company that's looking to come in and disrupt with the service. In a statement, the company said:
JAJAH services are used in around 200 countries by millions of people and are integrated into everyday instant messaging and social media applications, as well as through its own JAJAH direct-to-consumer offer. Its business solutions, which provide seamless IP communications services across the organisation, regardless of location or device, are used by thousands of small-to-medium and large enterprises across the world.
Jajah will keep its brand as it becomes part of Telefonica Europe, the first of Telefónica's regional business divisions that will offer "seamless Jajah services." Telefonica Europe offer seamless JAJAH services to customers wishing to extend their communications experience.
Telefónica Europe offers mobile, fixed and DSL operations in the UK, Ireland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia under the 'O2' consumer brand. It has about 49 million customers.