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Tampa's Syniverse builds text messaging strength with VeriSign deal

Tampa's Syniverse Technologies is expanding its niche as a major force in text messaging through a deal to buy VeriSign Inc.'s mobile messaging business for $175 million in cash.

Shares of Syniverse jumped 23 percent Tuesday, reaching as high as $19.41 a share before settling at $18.82.

The deal will add 300 employees to Syniverse's work force, most from VeriSign's Silicon Valley headquarters and about 100 based in India. Syniverse, which provides mobile services for more than 650 companies, employs about 1,150 worldwide, including 650 in Tampa.

It's Syniverse's largest acquisition in terms of employees and revenue.

Tony Holcombe, Syniverse's president and CEO, said the deal is a strong fit on several fronts:

• VeriSign has a strong customer base in the United States, while Syniverse is more focused overseas.

• VeriSign brings more large customers into the fold: To date, Syniverse's largest U.S. client had been Alltel, which it lost after that company became part of Verizon.

• Syniverse can use its global sales and distribution channels to market various VeriSign products, such as event-based and time-based text messaging options.

Holcombe said Syniverse still has enough cash to finance further acquisitions, though likely not of this scope or immediately.

"We bought three large companies in three years. We're trying to focus on getting those integrated and doing it right," he said.

Jeff Harrington can be reached at jharrington@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8242.

Tampa's Syniverse builds text messaging strength with VeriSign deal 08/25/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 8:13pm]
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