agreed to pay $188 million to take a controlling interest in
Jamba mobile entertainment unit.
New York-based News Corp. and Mountain View, Calif., Verisign said they also formed a joint venture to create the world's largest provider of mobile entertainment. The new company intends to retain the Jamster brand in the U.S. and the Jamba brand worldwide.
Lucy Hood, former president of Fox Mobile Entertainment, will become CEO of the joint venture. With key centers in Los Angeles and Berlin, the new entity will be the industry's only vertically integrated mobile entertainment company with unique capabilities to produce, market, sell and distribute mobile content.
"This is an important step in News Corp.'s strategy of becoming the world's leading digital media company," said Peter Chernin, News Corp. president and chief operating officer. "We're the most powerful media company on the web with Fox Interactive Media, our aggressive digital content deals have given consumers access to News Corp. programming on every conceivable platform and we have already demonstrated innovation in this emerging space with the Mobisode and Mobizzo.
"Wireless technology gives us an enormous opportunity to reach billions of mobile phone users with our content. With this new venture we're looking forward to inventing new and compelling ways to engage this exciting new audience."
Jamba was founded in 2000. The company currently delivers content in 30 territories and has one of the industry's most advanced technology platforms. Jamba can immediately distribute content in all of its territories, which is critically important in an industry where most of the users are young people always looking for the "next cool thing," News Corp. said.