Vodafone To Buy Swedish LBS Firm

UK-based Vodafone is to acquire Swedish firm Wayfinder for USD $29.4 million.

The move is being seen as a bid by Vodafone to boost its location-based services (LBS) offering and drive mobile data growth.

Wayfinder’s services are available in 19 languages to a global user base of more than 2 million.

Its software enables mobile phones to display user-friendly maps as well as deliver voice directions to drivers in the same way as dedicated navigation devices.

Vodafone has said that Wayfinder’s board is recommending the bid and Wayfinder shareholders, controlling 45 per cent of shares, have agreed to accept the offer.

The acquisition is the latest in Vodafone’s acquisition strategy in new mobile Internet services.

In May it purchased European social networking company ZYB for €31.5 million.

Vodafone’s latest deal will be seen as its response to Nokia’s moves into the navigation and LBS space.

The wireless and location industries have seen a fair degree of activity recently, with TomTom and Nokia acquiring digital map providers.

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