Comverse Technology (Nasdaq: CMVT), a supplier of software and systems for network-based multimedia communications services, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Odigo, a privately-held provider of instant messaging (IM) and presence management solutions to wireless carriers and service providers worldwide.

The acquisition, with a cost to Comverse of approximately $20 million in cash, is subject to closing conditions customary for a transaction of this type. Prior to the acquisition, ComverseTechnology was a strategic partner with Odigo holding an equity position of approximately 12.4%, which it previously acquired for $3 million.

"Comverse and Odigo have had a long standing-partnership and together have developed instant communications products and services that we have recently begun to offer to operators around the world. We are now taking this partnership to the next level. The combination of Comverse and Odigo offerings enhances Comverse's ability to address the emerging market demands for open instant messaging and communications applications. Further, the integration of Odigo's instant messaging server and presence management engine with Comverse's messaging solutions, such as voicemail, email, unified messaging and MMS, has strengthened our total messaging suite," said Zeev Bregman, Comverse CEO.

Comverse will establish a new division, the Instant Communications Division, to be headed by Gidi Be'ery, Comverse's former VP Marketing, who currently serves as VP Strategic Activity. In addition to Odigo¿s activity, the company will include its own Next2Me division which develops advanced communications services for cellular networks.

Founded in 1998, Odigo has raised more than $20 million today, including a $15 million round in early 2001 led by the venture capital arm of Lazard Freres. The New York City- headquartered company did not succeed in completing its last fundraising round, $10-15 million that had been planned for February.