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Vindigo sold to Japanese content company

Japan's For-side.com pays $36.5 million for provider of maps, news and other material for mobile devices.

Richard Shim Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Richard Shim
writes about gadgets big and small.
Richard Shim
2 min read
Mobile device content provider Vindigo Studios has been sold to For-side.com for $36.5 million as the company looks to expand its reach globally.

Vindigo will remain a wholly owned subsidiary of For-side, one of Japan's leading content providers for mobile devices. While widely known for its city guides service on handhelds, Vindigo has been focusing on making other services, such as movie guides, maps and news, available on cell phones for the last two and a half years.

Vindigo's management team will remain in place at the 35-person Vindigo. The sale, an all-cash deal, was announced earlier this week. Vindigo became profitable this year after doubling its revenue over the last three quarters.

"We were on a rapid revenue growth curve and had no plans to sell as of the second quarter," Vindigo Chief Executive Jason Devitt said. "But For-side is an aggressive and ambitious company, with acquisitions on other key markets, and we decided that it would be more exciting to be part of a company with an international reach than to continue as an independent company in the U.S."

Devitt added that the deal gives Vindigo access to a "deep capital base" and an opportunity to gain expertise from For-side. The Japanese company has a large selection of ring tones, wallpaper and screen savers for cell phones.

About 80 percent of Vindigo's revenue comes from the phone market, while the rest comes from handhelds, according to the company.

Vindigo's content was available on phones from AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, among others.

Vindigo was founded and launched in 1999 and was fully venture-backed. Investors included Time Warner Ventures and i-Hatch Ventures.