Sunday, November 26, 2006

NeuStar Acquires Followap for Mobile IM Capabilities

NeuStar has acquired Followap, a UK-based provider of mobile instant messaging (IM) products in Europe and Asia, for approximately $139 million in cash.

Followap delivers interoperability between operators and Internet portals in five different functional areas: instant messaging, presence, multimedia gateways, inter-carrier messaging hubs, and services for handset clients.

Followap has a customer base of 17 mobile network operators (MNOs) that have over 160 million subscribers. Customers include Vodafone, Turkcell, 3 Group (Hutchison), Wind and Mobinil.

Followap also works closely with ISPs to connect mobile subscribers to their favorite portal-based instant messaging applications, in addition to network operator- based services such as Personal IM.

Followap's advanced IM client solutions have recently been adopted by leading handset manufacturers.

NeuStar said the acquisition furthers its strategy by extending and complementing current beachhead initiatives in new growth markets such as the GSM Association root DNS service, the acquisition of UltraDNS and the development of the SIP-IX service.

Followap will form the core of NeuStar's Next Generation Messaging group and will complement NeuStar's SIP-IX suite of interoperability product offerings and services. NeuStar's new mobile IM solution suite will now support:

  • Multimedia messaging and real-time communications

  • Mobile phone number-based addressing

  • Presence as well as soft-state availability information; turning the handset phonebook into a buddy list

  • Cross-carrier chat sessions and group messaging

  • Location-based information services using presence technology

  • Seamless interoperability amongst operators and backward
  • compatibility with existing mobile messaging services.

NeuStar projects Followap revenue to exceed $25 million in 2007 and to more than double in 2008. NeuStar affirmed the 2006 full-year guidance issued on November 2, 2006, and confirmed that the acquisition of Followap did not impact its 2006 guidance.