iTouch revenues up 124pc – buys Spanish SMS firm

25 Mar 2003

London-listed mobile applications and content provider iTouch has reported that its revenue more than doubled last year. As well as this, the company has agreed to buy Spanish and Portuguese SMS apps and services firm Movilisto for a maximum consideration of €60m.

iTouch, which is 50pc owned by Independent News & Media, this morning revealed that revenue increased 124pc to £33.6m sterling. Revenue at its voice business increased four-fold from £5m sterling to £23m sterling, fueled primarily by acquisitions.

Losses before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation decreased by 13pc to £8.8m sterling, while operating losses narrowed to £16.2m sterling. As well as this, the company took a £30m sterling charge relating to the write-down of the value of acquisitions.

The company said that much of its business was also driven by success of text voting applications such as Pop Idol, I’m a celebrity … get me out of here! and American Idol 2. The company operates the Weatherdial and the Horoscopes services in Ireland.

Under the terms of the agreement to buy Movilisto, iTouch will pay an initial consideration for Movilisto for up to €35m – €20m in shares – and the remaining €5m on completion. An additional amount of up to €10m in cash will be payable subject to the level of working capital held by Movilisto at completion. Up to a further €25m will be paid in a combination of cash and ordinary shares in the event that Movilisto achieves certain financial targets in the 24-month period following completion. This morning, the net assets of Movilisto were estimated at €5.9m.

iTouch chairman, Ivan Fallon, said: “The acquisition of Movilisto is a transformative deal which will sharply accelerate iTouch’s road to profitability. It also establishes the group’s position as one of Europe’s leading value-added service providers and a key consolidator in the industry. The acquisitions of Telescope and M4 in the second half of 2002 have already reinforced our market position in the UK, and this acquisition will further strengthen our offering in the European premium SMS market.”

By John Kennedy