Enterprise News

Purple Labs backers find exit

May 09 issue

French mobile phone software company Purple Labs is being acquired by Swiss-based Esmertec, providing an exit for the company’s venture capital (VC) backers.

European VC firms Sofinnova Partners, Earlybird Venture Capital and Partners Group are selling their stake in the company in an all-share deal. The consideration amounts to 19.7 million Esmertec shares, currently valued at CHF90 million (£53 million), plus a further 4.4 million shares if financial targets for this year are achieved.

The combined business will be called Myriad Group and is to be led by Purple Labs’ CEO Simon Wilkinson (pictured). Thomas Hornung, Esmertec’s CEO, will leave the company and act as adviser for the executive team.

Chairman Hans Peter Baumgartner and all other Esmertec board members will retain their positions in Myriad.

Turnover for the merged organisation is expected to exceed US$125 million (£88 million). It will employ 800 software engineers in Europe, Asia and America specialising in software for mobile phones including internet browsers, messaging platforms and Java-based applications.

Last year, Purple Labs acquired the browser business and customers of mobile marketing and analytics specialist Openwave Systems and the mobile applications portfolio of France-based Sagem Wireless.