Neomobile announces acquisition of Zero9

Neomobile announces today the acquisition of Zero9, after a process that lasted several months and will be finalized in the following weeks.

This acquisition reinforces Neomobile’s strategic positioning and product portfolio in Italy and creates an absolute market leader in Brazil.

As a matter of fact, Zero9 is one of the historic players of the Mobile Entertainment market. Active since 2001, it is specialized in Dating and Community services with a particular success in the Brazilian market, where its subsidiary Zero9 do Brasil is a leader in mobile dating with the brand Club KdV.

More information available in the press release available below.

 

Neomobile acquires Zero9 and becomes the leader in Brazil

The Italian mobile media company aspires to play a key role in the consolidation of the market, becoming the reference player in Brazil and further strengthening its leadership in Italy

Roma, September 9th, 2010 – Today Neomobile SpA (“Neomobile”), the Italian market leader in mobile entertainment, backed by private equity funds BlueGem and MPS Venture, announced the acquisition of Zero9 after a process of administration that will be finalized in coming weeks.

Zero9 is one of the most established players in the mobile entertainment market. Active in Italy since 2001 and specialized in dating services and community, it has been particularly successful in the Brazilian market since 2008, where its subsidiary Zero9 do Brasil has established itself as the leader of mobile dating services with the brand Club KdV reaching 2.5 million active users in 2010.

The reference market of Neomobile continues its global expansion both in established sectors such as Mobile Content as well as in the emerging areas of Mobile Marketing and Mobile Payment. The most recent projection of Yankee Group estimates a growth of the Mobile Premium Content and Applications market from €63bln ($81bln) in 2009 to €90bln ($115bln) in 2013. The Mobile Payments market is expected to reach €236bln ($300bln) in 2013 according to Juniper Research.

Moreover, in 2010 there has been a strong trend in mergers and acquisitions in this market, particularly in the Americas and India. With this second add-on, after the acquisition of Arena Mobile in 2009, Neomobile confirms itself an active player in the ongoing global consolidation process.

Neomobile is one of the fastest growing mobile media companies on an international level in recent years, and is now a multinational covering Mobile Entertainment D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) and B2B2C (Business-to-Business-to-Consumer) in Europe, Latin America and India as well as being active in Mobile Marketing and Mobile Payment.

In the first half of 2010 it has increased its turnover by about 60% compared to 2009, maintaining its margins in line with the previous year.

The goal announced earlier this year to achieve €100mln in sales developed in partnership with mobile operators in 2010 will be far exceeded.

The acquisition and integration of Zero9 strengthens the strategic positioning and product portfolio of Neomobile in Italy and leads to the creation of an absolute market leader in Brazil, a company integrated with D2C services on the mobile platform, with an innovative business line of B2B2C services enabling web companies in South America to monetize mobile business models. Zero9 do Brasil already counts Yahoo! and Badoo among its B2B2C clients.

Neomobile is therefore realizing its strategy of international expansion, particularly towards LatAm, where it is already active and growing quickly in Brazil as well as in other markets such as Mexico. In 2010 the turnover developed in this region will reach up to almost 40% of the global turnover of the company and management targets a growth rate of 25% annually in the next two years.

Gianluca D’Agostino, CEO of Neomobile, commenting on the transaction, said: “This acquisition marks another fundamental milestone in the history of Neomobile confirming its focus on growth and value creation, thanks to the commitment of its professionals and the confidence of all its shareholders. The Zero9 deal is part of a strategy of continuous international expansion, directed in 2010 mainly towards the major South American markets. Leadership in Brazil will allow us to exploit the partnership with mobile operators and local media, and to play a key role in the path of ongoing consolidation in our market, both locally and globally.”

With the acquisition of Zero9, Neomobile also increases its local presence in both markets, reinforcing its organization with a staff of 30 people working in the Milan and São Paulo offices.

Claudio Rossi, General Manager of Neomobile, commenting on the transaction, said: “For some time we have initiated a policy of development and strategic reinforcement of our business and with this acquisition we broaden the commercial range of our products and services. Zero9 has always been considered an important player on the Italian scene and this will allow us to integrate our experience and our profound knowledge of the business ensuring the development of an increasingly comprehensive offer. The high level of know-how present in both companies will allow significant synergies that will bring innovation in mobile entertainment, mobile marketing and mobile payment.”

The deal was financed partly by BNL-BNP Paribas Group and partly through a capital increase in which all the shareholders of Neomobile participated, reflecting the continuous commitment of MPS Venture and BlueGem towards the company.

Neomobile was assisted by KPMG Corporate Finance and by the law firm Labruna Mazziotti Segni.

Marco Canale, General Manager of MPS Venture, said: “The acquisition of Zero9 is part of Neomobile’s long term development plan for which the financial investors have demonstrated their commitment with additional funding.”

“Neomobile continues to be a dynamic company able to grow both organically and through external paths,” said Marco Capello, Managing Partner of BlueGem. “That’s why we continue to monitor the market in search of additional targets that may have a strategic role in the process of geographical diversification and of business lines that Neomobile has successfully implemented the last three years.”

###

About Neomobile

Neomobile is a global Mobile Media Company, which offers mobile integrated solutions in Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Marketing and Mobile Payment.

Present in Europe, LatAm and India, addressing a potential market of about 2 billion mobile lines, thanks to our team of around 200 professionals, experts in mobile content, marketing and technology, the Company designs, develops, markets and distributes interactive digital content and services for mobile users in partnership with mobile operators worldwide.

Active in the market since 2004, Neomobile is one of the most renowned companies in the direct-to-consumer (D2C) segment, market leader in Italy and Brazil and among the top players in Spain, Mexico, France and Turkey.

In 2009 the company acquired the Spanish company Arena Mobile to extend its international footprint and to strengthen its technology link with Mobile Carriers (B2O).

Neomobile is also active in the B2B2C segment with a range of services spanning from mobile payment solutions and design of optimized product services to technical development and marketing support for web and media companies, social networks, dating, gaming communities and App stores.

In 2009 Neomobile started a dedicated Mobile Marketing unit: Neomobile Marketing Solutions.

Neomobile is proud member of the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), the Spanish association Aesam and the Italian association AssoCSP. The Company was nominated as a finalist in the Mobile Entertainment Awards 2009 in the “Best D2C Company” category.

About Zero9

Founded in 2001, Zero9 is an Italian company specialized in services for mobile users. Headquartered in Milan, the company has a subsidiary in Brazil that has established itself as a leading provider of mobile dating with 2.5 million users in Brazil. The company also develops platforms for selling content such as games, images, videos and info services. In Brazil it is the white label partner of Yahoo. It was a finalist for the Award ‘Tela movel Viva’ in the category of ‘best content aggregator’.

For further information please visit www.neomobilegroup.com – Contacts: media.relations@neomobilegroup.com