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Six Apart Blogs in Europe

Weblog tools vendor Six Apart has announced the acquisition of French blog software firm Ublog, a deal that opens the door to the potentially lucrative European market.

Six Apart, the company behind the popular Movable Type and TypePad platforms, said the Ublog acquisition will form part of Six Apart EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), a subsidiary that will manage its international expansion.

Ublog founder Loic Le Meur will assume the title of executive vice president and general manager of EMEA. Financial terms of the acquisition were not released.

Six Apart has already deployed TypePad in Japan, France and Spain, and plans to launch in Germany next week and in the U.K. by this fall.

The Six Apart acquisition comes on the heels of Google's purchase of Picasa, a digital photography company that powers the posting of images on its Blogger service. Picasa's software lets users organize and share digital images and post them on Blogger-powered blogs. Picasa also offers a free application called Hello that uses peer-to-peer technology to let users browse photo albums.

Six Apart, which was founded by the husband and wife team of Ben and Mena Trott in 2002, is backed by Tokyo-based venture capital firm Neoteny. Former PayPal executive Reid Hoffman, who now runs the LinkedIn social software platform, is also an investor.

"Loic and his team have been acting as our exclusive agent in Europe for the past six or so months bringing the TypePad service and Movable Type to the European market .... This acquisition is not a quick sale of Ublog to Six Apart. [They] are joining Six Apart to be a part of what we're all doing," Mena Trott said in a Weblog post announcing the deal.

Six Apart also hired Barak Berkowitz as CEO and Andrew Anker as executive vice president of corporate development. Barak was previously president of wireless firm OmniSky, which went public in 2000 and was later acquired by EarthLink. He also did stints at Disney's Go Network, Logitech and Apple Computer.

Earlier this year, Six Apart rolled out an open online authentication system aimed at curbing the "comment spam" problem being encountered by Web publishers who enable a feature to allow readers to reply to news and stories.

The new TypeKey provides a central identity that anyone can use to log in and post comments on blogs and other Web sites. A blogger or Web publisher using TypeKey gets complete control over who can post comments, while limiting the process to a single sign-in for readers.