Nokia Goes to OZ
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s acquisition trail looks more like a yellow brick road today as the world's biggest mobile handset maker announced that it plans to buy consumer mobile messaging and email specialist OZ Communications Inc. (See Nokia to Buy OZ.)
The news marks the latest acquisition in the Finnish phone maker's spending spree to grow its mobile services business, which is a strategy that moves Nokia onto mobile operators' services turf.
Since the middle of last year, Nokia has gobbled up Twango, Enpocket , Navteq Corp. (NYSE: NVT), Avvenu Inc. , Trolltech, and Plazes. (See Nokia Is Going Plazes, Mobile OS Wars: Nokia Snaps Up Symbian, Nokia Acquires Trolltech, Nokia Snaps Up Avvenu, Nokia Nabs Navteq for $8B, What's in Nokia's (en)Pocket?, and Nokia Acquires Twango.)
With OZ, Nokia will add to the mobile email smarts it gained with the acquisition of Intellisync for $430 million back in 2005. (See Nokia to Buy Intellisync.)
Montreal-based OZ, with 220 employees, sells mobile instant messaging clients, gateways, and presence servers to mobile operators, ISPs, and handset makers. And it has some big operator customers, including AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Orange France , Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), T-Mobile International AG , T-Mobile US Inc. , Verizon Wireless , and Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF). (See OZ Locks Down $34M, OZ Gets $27.3M, T-Mob Launches Mobile IM, Alltel Selects OZ, Oz Powers Cingular for Email, and OZ Wins at Sprint.)
Nokia says the acquisition will help it to deliver access to IM and email services like AOL, Gmail, ICQ, Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo!
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter and OZ will become part of Nokia's services and software business unit.
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung