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Sybase Makes Big Mobile Play

Sybase significantly expanded its mobile portfolio with today's announcement that it plans to buy Mobile 365 for approximately $400 million.

With the addition of Mobile 365, Sybase  is laying claim to being the number one provider of mobile messaging and content delivery.

Mobile 365 delivers mobile data and messaging, premium content, and value-added services for leading mobile operators, content providers, global brands, media companies, and financial institutions worldwide. Its blue chip client list includes Citibank, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and Sony Pictures.

Based in Chantilly, VA, Mobile 365 is a global provider of mobile interoperability messaging, including SMS, WAP, MMS, and Instant Messaging. Sybase is headquartered in Dublin, CA.

At the core of Mobile 365's offering is an operator-grade network that the company said is the most extensive, private network for mobile messaging available. The Mobile 365 delivery network sends more than 3 billion messages per month and has approximately 700 connections into mobile operators around the world, including Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, T-Mobile, Cingular, Telefonica, and China Mobile.

"The mobile messaging market in the U.S. alone is expected to grow to $7.5 billion by 2008," said John Chen, Sybase chairman, CEO and president, in a statement. "Getting closer to this exploding mobile market through carriers is a key extension of our Unwired Enterprise strategy."

Well known for its database technology, Sybase has been honing its focus and acquisition strategy the past few years in the mobile area.

Last July, Sybase announced the acquisition of mobile software maker Extended Systems for $71.3 million in cash to improve its plan to let corporate employees tap into their companies' computers from the road.

The purchase price for Mobile 365 is set forth in the agreement as $425 million cash, but subject to adjustment based on the company's working capital when the deal closes, which is expected by the end of the fourth quarter.

Following the closing of the transaction, Mobile 365 will operate as Sybase Mobile 365, a wholly-owned subsidiary. The new subsidiary will be led by Marty Beard, Sybase's senior vice president of corporate development and marketing, who will be named president of Sybase Mobile 365.

"Given Sybase's leadership in enterprise mobility, this acquisition is a perfect fit," said Mike Daniels, Mobile 365 executive chairman. "With Mobile 365's technology, Sybase can now deliver any mobile message or application to any handset -- anytime, anywhere."