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Pixelpark Grabs Cell Network/Mandator for $2.3 Billion

Germany media firm PixelPark Wednesday jumped into the race to form Europe's largest Internet consulting firm, purchasing the soon-to-merge Cell Network/Mandator for 2.4 billion euros ($2.3 billion).

The new entity will operate as Pixelpark, in which current Pixelpark shareholders will control a majority 56.6 percent, with Cell Network/Mandator stakeholders owning the remaining 43.4 percent. Pixelpark will offer Cell Network/Mandator shareholders 0.1767 new shares for each share in Mandator. Pixelpark shareholders will receive a 1:1 exchange. The deal values the Cell/Mandator merger at 26.4 percent above its market value as of yesterday's closing share price.

The new company will continue to pursue the pan-European as well as the global e-services market, and will have a presence in Germany, Scandinavia, central Europe, the U.K., Spain, Italy, eastern Europe, and the U.S., as well as in Asia through offices in Malaysia and Singapore.

The acquisition combines the three firms' European incubator networks: Pixelpark's Venturepark, Cell Network's Cell Innovation Europe and Mandator's Mandator Innovation. The three companies also expect that the combined experience each firm has in WAP, Bluetooth, Digital TV, broadband and embedded systems technologies will prove to be an important factor in the new company's success.

Paulus Neef will continue as Pixelpark's CEO, with Cell Network chairman Jan Carlzon and Mandator chairman Lars O. Petterson joining the Pixelpark supervisory board.

Pixelpark's offer will be conditional on the fulfillment of the terms of Mandator's acquisition Cell Network, which was announced in February. The new company will be listed on Germany's Neuer Markt, where Pixelpark made its IPO in October of last year. The new Pixelpark will have a market value of approximately 5.6 billion euros, according to a company statement.

Competition among European consultancies has been heating up over the past few months. Information Highway/Connecta, which is also undergoing a merger, is also expanding its base in Europe through acquisitions. This week it picked up German consultancy berens/partner for an undisclosed amount.

Sweden's Framfab is also pursuing the top European consultancy spot through acquisitions, and entered the U.S. market last month with the eBizApps.com buy.



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