Japanese Buy iTouch for Pounds 180m
Reece, Damian, The Independent (London, England)
iTouch, the mobile phone content provider, is to be bought by its Japanese rival For-side.com for pounds 179.6m in cash.
The deal will unite two of the fastest-growing businesses in the rapidly expanding mobile content market and represents a return of more than 300 per cent for Independent News & Media, the publisher of The Independent, which owns a 37.44 per cent stake in iTouch.
Wayne Pitout, the chief executive of iTouch and co-founder of the company, along with Avi Azulai, has made about pounds 20m from the business he created seven years ago in South Africa.
Mr Pitout said: 'iTouch has grown to become one of the largest providers of mobile content focused on Europe, with operations in 25 countries. I welcome this offer, which will combine iTouch with For- side.com's existing strong operations in Asia and the US to create a truly global player.'
Independent News & Media will receive pounds 67.25m for its stake in the business.
Sir Anthony O'Reilly, Independent News & Media's chief executive, said: 'We are happy that a small idea, started in South Africa, has worked to the benefit of the whole group in such spectacular fashion. This very attractive return on our investment reflects our stated objective of consistently delivering superior returns for our shareholders. …