NeuStar NGM significantly devalued in sale, but can Synchronica effect a rise from the ashes?
Synchronica’s acquisition of NeuStar’s Next Generation Messaging (NGM) assets for the very low sum of $251,000 is the culmination of a long fall from grace for the mobile-instant-messaging platform provider formerly known as Followap, which was acquired by NeuStar in Nov. 2006 for $139m.
NeuStar has been seeking to offload NGM for some time, since the division was neither profitable nor complementary to the company’s core business as a clearing-house for various telecommunications services. The NGM assets are a better fit for mobile instant messaging provider Synchronica, which also acquired Colibria’s instant messaging and presence (IMPS) assets in Apr. 2010. Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts that global mobile instant messaging revenues will total $5.9bn in 2011, rising to $16.1bn by 2015.
Synchronica is very much pursuing a diversified model for providing mobile messaging services, which has included creating its own messaging-focused device as well as enabling e-mail, IM and mobile social networking on its flagship Mobile Gateway platform. To this diversified model Synchronica can now add NeuStar’s Rich Communication Suite technology, which was an element that was missing from its acquisition of the Colibria assets. The customers and the RCS technology that Synchronica has acquired from NeuStar means the company has now expanded its focus from emerging markets to developed markets. Synchronica faces some competition in developed markets from over-the-top providers such as eBuddy, Nimbuzz and Palringo; it also faces competition from Miyowa, a close rival of NeuStar NGM and Colibria which has also diversified its messaging products and services in the past two years, and which is profitable and growing.
Synchronica’s acquisition of its second set of mobile-instant-messaging assets within a year, and for a bargain basement price, is a clear signal that the pure-play, managed-service business model for mobile IM has passed its expiry date. At least this is the case in developed markets where the over-the-top providers are competing with mobile operators to provide far more compelling applications that allow mobile subscribers aggregated access to multiple IM communities on their mobile phone and on their PCs.
Synchronica will need to continue to be nimble and to evolve its messaging platforms if it is to succeed where NeuStar and Colibria have failed.