YOU ARE AT:Archived ArticlesContent market thins as Zed pays $66.8M for MonsterMob

Content market thins as Zed pays $66.8M for MonsterMob

MonsterMob Group plc booted its three top executives after Spanish content aggregator LaNetro Zed took a 52-percent stake in the ringtone provider.
Zed, an 11-year-old Spanish firm, will spend $66.8 million for the majority stake in MonsterMob, which operates ringtone businesses around the world. Chinese wireless content firm Linktone said it would not make a competing offer for Monstermob after shareholders of the London-based ringtone specialist backed the Zed plan, resulting in a 16-percent drop in MonsterMob shares.
Zed wasted no time in shuffling MonsterMob’s front office, ousting Chairman Hans Snook, CEO Niccolo de Masi and Finance Director David Marks. Javier Perez Dolset, CEO of the Madrid-based firm, will serve as interim chief at MonsterMob until de Masi’s replacement is found.
MonsterMob went on a global spending spree beginning in 2005, shelling out more than $200 million to establish a major presence in China and Russia. The company also owns 9 Squared, a Denver-based ringtone provider.
But the ringtone conglomerate hit turbulent water last year in the face of new regulatory controls in both Great Britain and China. MonsterMob in June ousted CEO Martin Higginson, who wanted to focus on the U.K. market instead of investing abroad.
Zed’s move underscores the increasing merger-and-acquisition activity in the content aggregator space. Buongiorno S.p.A., an Italian aggregator, has been snapping up smaller content providers and mobile marketing companies in recent months, and Moderati Inc. two weeks ago was acquired by Bellrock Media, which hopes to expand the California firm’s business beyond ringtones into the broader world of mobile media.
Zed had planned to make a full bid for MonsterMob before deciding in December to settle for a majority stake. The acquisition will result in a 1,200-employee company doing business in 31 countries.
“MonsterMob’s shareholders have recognized that LaNetro Zed’s offer is (the best path) to move the business forward for the benefit of all shareholders, from a firmer financial foundation,” Dolset said. “This is a strategically important investment for LaNetro Zed as it will allow us to exploit opportunities in markets where MonsterMob has built a strong business including China, the U.S.A., Russia and the U.K.”


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