Bolt Acquires U.K Text Messaging Firm

Silicon Alley teen content and e-commerce network Bolt Monday announced the acquisition of Fonepark, a British software firm that builds wireless text messaging applications for mobile phones.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bolt said it would integrate Fonepark’s two-way SMS messaging service into its Web- and WAP-based services available to teens, ideally with an eye to providing advertisers with new ways to reach the site’s membership

“By integrating two-way SMS messaging into its proprietary Web- and WAP-based tools, Bolt will expand its relationship with young adults by capitalizing on the worldwide popularity of wireless text messaging, giving it an early lead in the US adoption of this medium,” the company said in a statement.

Existing Bolt advertisers, such as consumer package goods giant Procter & Gamble — which in September inked a two-year deal with Bolt to sponsor several content areas — could use the service to attach marketing messages or promotions to users’ SMS messages to each other.

“We see a unique opportunity for our blue-chip clients such as Procter & Gamble and America Online to use Bolt as the vehicle to increase awareness, loyalty and retention among young adults,” Bolt CEO Dan Pelson told internetnews.com sister publication atNewYork.

In addition to acquiring Fonepark’s technology, a number of Fonepark’s key personnel are joining Bolt’s UK management team.

Bolt, which withdrew a $44 million IPO filing last November, provides tools and services such as email, homepages, clubs and instant messaging to a teenage audience. The company’s investors include Bechtel Enterprises Holdings Highland Capital Partners, Sandler Capital Management, Oak Investment Partners and Moore Capital Management.

Christopher Saunders, an assistant editor at internetnews.com‘s Internet Advertising Report, contributed to this story.

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