April 18, 2006
By Tara Seals
Billing giant Amdocs Ltd. said today it will buy digital content and commerce enabler Qpass Inc. for $275 million.
The acquisition will put Amdocs in the mobile content business and beef up its billing solutions for the exploding digital content marketplace in general. Qpass software supports digital commerce (including billing and partner settlement), service activation and product management, and content management and delivery for a range of service providers like Sprint Nextel Corp., Cingular Wireless LLC, T-Mobile International AG and Skype Technologies SA.
Qpass also has formed a new business unit, Openmarket, geared to the off-portal wireless content trend, to help content providers reach subscribers directly. Qpass works with about 300 content providers already.
Wireless providers are rapidly evolving their business models from voice providers to multimedia entertainment companies. With the additional e- and m-commerce software (and customers) in the portfolio, Amdocs can better enable that transition, giving carriers looking to expand their service suites a comprehensive front-office solution for legacy, next-gen and content-oriented services.
Consumers have begun to expect higher levels of personalization and richer content via multiple electronic channels, said Chase Franklin, CEO and founder of Qpass. As the consumption of content and digital goods becomes mainstream, volume and complexity will increase significantly and the demand for additional services will grow. The merger with Amdocs will provide a comprehensive answer to help service providers support these increased demands.
The deal is expected to close sometime in the third quarter, by June 30.
Amdocs stocks were up 21 cents in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange, priced at $35.21.
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