ValueFirst snaps up

MUMBAI: Digital media firm ValueFirst Messaging has made its third acquisition of the year by buying Bangalore-based mGinger in an all-cash deal.

The buy from Gingersoft Media comes as a step towards entering the mobile advertising realm.

In 2007, Ginger Media raised $2 million from IndoUS Venture Partners and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

ValueFirst has also bought out way2online (which owns and operates both way2sms and 160by2) and Indyarocks since the beginning of the year.

The company said the acquisition will give ValueFirst access to an additional four million opted-in registered users, apart from its existing base of 50 million subscribers across various other assets. It will also help leverage mGinger?s strong brand name and relationship with agencies.

ValueFirst was launched in 2003 and is backed by NEA and Headland Asian Ventures. The company has been pushing inorganic growth, having acquired mobile VAS firm Cellnext Solutions in October 2009 in an all-cash deal and Noida-based telecom software and product development firm Packet Shaper. The company also acquired a majority stake in the social media firm in April 2010 for an undisclosed sum.

ValueFirst MD Vish Bajaj said, "mGinger was pioneer in permission-based marketing and ended up building a huge profiled base of consumers for niche targeting. ValueFirst has big plans for the business where we want to extend the permission-based approach to markets beyond SMS - to various platforms like the Internet, voice and e-mail. In the recent months, mGinger had pivoted to promoting deals. We are evaluating what to do with the deals part of the business and will currently focus on scaling its media business."

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