Deals done this past week

3 Aug 2010

An overview of the week in deals in the Irish technology sector, including Disney’s purchase of social gaming company Playdom, and First Derivatives’ contract with the Singapore Exchange as part of its Asian expansion.

Disney buys social gaming firm Playdom for US$563.2m

Entertainment giant Disney has revealed it is buying social gaming company Playdom for US$563.2m, making a resounding statement that the company intends to be a major force in the computer game industry globally, especially in social gaming.

Playdom shareholders will receive total consideration of $563.2m, subject to certain conditions, and a performance-linked earn-out of up to $200m.

By acquiring Playdom, Disney will strengthen its already-robust digital gaming portfolio, acquire a first-rate management team and provide consumers new ways to interact with the company on popular social networks, like Facebook.

First Derivatives signs contract with Singapore Exchange

Specialist Irish software company First Derivatives has signed a contract with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) for one of its financial service products as it continues to expand its footprint into Asia.

First Derivatives said it is customising and implementing the Delta system at the SGX, along with its Singapore sales partner BrokerEdge Systems Advisors.

The company said the contract represented “another important milestone” in its ambitions to expand its operations into the Asian market.

GameStop acquires Flash game portal Kongregate

The world’s biggest games retailer GameStop has acquired a leading Flash-based social gaming community for an undisclosed sum as part of its unfolding strategy to be a major force in online gaming.

Kongregate Inc. is a leading social gaming destination and community for core gamers representing the fast-growing free-to-play gaming market.

Currently, the site hosts 10 million monthly players who spend about 23 million hours per month on the site. Kongregate will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of GameStop Corp. and maintain its current offices in San Francisco, Calif.

The Kongregate transaction is expected to close around 1 August, subject to customary closing conditions, with the company remaining under the leadership of its co-founders, Jim and Emily Greer.

Kongregate’s digital platform allows consumers to discover great free-to-play games that can be enjoyed via internet-connected devices. Acquiring Kongregate strengthens GameStop’s digital platform and its commitment to become the gaming aggregator of choice.

McAfee in fibre network deal with E-net

Security software giant McAfee has signed a deal with fibre provider E-net to connect to the Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) in Cork city. The move highlights the connection between MANs and foreign direct investment.

E-net facilitated the delivery of two separate fibre connections for McAfee’s recently opened state-of-the-art premises in Mahon, Cork.

The first was a 100Mbps circuit and was delivered and handed over after just six working days from order placement. The second was a dark fibre connection, handed over to another operator only 24 hours after the order was received.

“These MAN connections demonstrate E-net’s ambition to stimulate the rollout of advanced technologies to businesses all over Ireland,” Conall Henry, CEO of E-Net, explained.

“McAfee will be benefiting from the best available technology that knowledge-based businesses now require.”

Juniper buys mobile security firm for US$70m

Juniper Networks is to buy mobile security firm SMobile for US$70m in cash in a move that will give it an edge in the areas of smartphone and tablet computer security.

SMobile, a privately held software company based in Ohio, focuses solely on smartphone and tablet security solutions for the enterprise, service provider and consumer markets. The total transaction consideration at closing will be about US$70m in cash.

SMobile’s product portfolio protects devices running on Android, Apple iOS (which powers iPhones and iPads), Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile operating systems from viruses, spyware, identity theft and other threats, while providing parental and enterprise controls. Juniper will integrate this portfolio into Junos Pulse, an innovative software platform that brings ubiquitous connectivity, security and acceleration to smartphones, tablets, netbooks and notebooks.

WiMax provider Imagine acquires Clearwire in Ireland

Sean Bolger’s fast-growing Imagine has acquired Clearwire’s Irish operations for an undisclosed sum. Imagine is engaged in a €100m national rollout of WiMax supported by Intel and Motorola.

Following the Clearwire transaction, Imagine will have close to 400 high sites nationwide to facilitate the rapid roll out of its WiMax network.

“This is a very significant and strategic deal for us as Clearwire is one of the world’s leading 4G operators,” Brian O’Donohoe, managing director of Imagine Communications Group explained.

“Key network and operational assets, as well as a talented technical team, will serve as a solid launch pad for expanding service and making 4G mobile broadband a reality across Ireland,” O’Donohoe added.

As part of the transaction, Clearwire will become a minority shareholder and will nominate a representative to Imagine’s board of directors. Other specific financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

RSA buys

RSA Insurance Group has announced it has acquired online insurance broker 123 Money, which trades as, in a deal worth €65m.

“The acquisition of complements our existing intermediated distribution capability by giving us a leading direct presence and will make RSA the No 2 general insurer in Ireland,” said Simon Lee, CEO of RSA International. “We are excited about the growth prospects created by combining’s strong brand with RSA’s financial strength and recognised technical expertise.”

Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

BT wins €3.5m contract to manage NCT network

The company behind Ireland’s National Car Test (NCT) service has awarded BT a €3.5m contract to design, build and manage its nationwide network of 46 local test centres and host IT infrastructure at a data centre in Dublin.

The design and roll out of a multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) network was the first phase in a three-year €3.5m contract, connecting the test centres to the Applus+ head office in Dublin as well as the data centre.

After being awarded a 10-year contract by the Road Safety Authority, Applus+ took over the running of the NCT centres in January this year.