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lastminute.com, 12snap Launch Co-Branded M-Commerce Services

[London, ENGLAND] Late deals e-tailer lastminute.com announced Wednesday it has partnered with European mobile-commerce player 12snap to offer wireless services on a co-branded site.

The new site, boasting the no-so-snappy address www.12snap-lastminute.com, will launch in the U.K. on Thursday -- and in Germany "at a later date," according to the partners which both have operations in the two countries.

As part of the deal, 12snap will deliver lastminute.com's latest offers via text and interactive voice messages, complementing its existing shopping, entertainment and content services.

"This is a big step towards new, innovative delivery of goods and services via the mobile -- creating the ultimate time-sensitive proposition," said Anne de Kerckhove, managing director of 12snap UK.

Tempting customers to join the service before the end of March, the two companies have put into operation an elaborate marketing plan with a Valentine's Day theme. For example, customers will have a chance to win a hot-pink Benilli scooter in a jointly promoted draw, while other prizes on offer include first class tickets to Paris on Eurostar, dirty weekends in top hotels, and dinner in otherwise unbookable restaurants.

Lastminute.com's joint site with 12snap is intended to complement rather than compete with its existing wireless services. It clearly impressed with 12snap's lively foray into the wireless market, bringing new techniques to make mobile commerce a reality today rather than a promise tomorrow.

12snap launched in Germany in January 2000, attracting 0.4 million users there, and followed this success with launches in Italy (October 2000) and the U.K. (December 2000).

12snap combines SMS text messaging, IVR voice technology, Web and WAP, offering consumers access to shopping, auctions, interactive entertainment and other content.

The two partners say they plan to promote the new wireless service to lastminute.com's 2.8 million registered subscribers as well as to 12snap's half-million users.

Lastminute.com's last major deal was its October 2000 acquisition of French e-travel company Degriftour Group which greatly expanded its European e-commerce activities.