Mobile marketing technology provider Augme Technologies is broadening its offerings and customer base with the acquisition of fellow mobile marketing platform Hipcricket. The buy follows a recent string of mobile-related deals, including InMobi's acquisition of Sprout earlier this week, and ValueClick's purchase of ad network Greystripe in April.
Hipcricket offers a software-as-a-service platform similar to Augme's, which provides marketing solutions including SMS, 2D/QR codes, MMS, mobile websites, social media, branded applications, and mobile advertising, to customers including Macy’s, MillerCoors, Nestle, and KFC.
The purchase is valued at between $44.5 and $72 million, the company said, depending on a 12-month earn-out payment.
Speaking with ClickZ today, Augme's founder and chief innovation officer, Anthony Iacovone, said the acquisition was driven largely by Hipcricket's strong client base and its capabilities in the SMS marketing space. In addition, the firm's agency arm was also an attractive asset, the CIO suggested, stating, "While we're a tech platform at heart, clients expect us to be full service."
Hipcricket's brand and 55 staffers will be retained and housed under the Augme name, the company said, bringing its current client base to at least 300. Augme's existing customers include CPG brands such as Kraft and Kellogg's, and numerous pharmaceutical firms like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.
The Hipcricket deal follows Augme's purchase of mobile barcode provider Jagtag, which completed last week, and further bolsters its capabilities in that area. According to Iacovone, the company is now turning its attention to the mobile advertising space, thanks to growth in interest from clients.
"Advertising is a huge opportunity for us, and we're already well positioned with clients," Iacovone said, adding that the company hopes to "attract new dollars" through a more robust ad offering. To help it do that, it's currently working on developing its own DSP technology.
In the mobile marketing technology space, Augme competes with companies such as Velti, which yesterday announced a major global campaign rollout with Subway. Velti also entered the mobile ad space late last year after its purchase of mobile ad exchange and network Mobclix.
Following the Hipcricket purchase, current Augme CEO Paul Arena will remain in his post, while Hipcricket’s founder and CEO Ivan Braiker will be appointed president and will join Augme's board of directors.
Meanwhile, Eric Harber, president and COO of Hipcricket, will join Augme's management team as COO. Phillip Rapp, previously COO of Augme will become EVP of strategic planning.
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Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011.
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