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Gadgets & Home Improvement

SingTel buys US photo app firm Pixable for $33m

This is another step in the telco's strategy to increase its clout as an Internet services company.
The Straits Times - September 21, 2012
By: Irene Tham
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SingTel buys US photo app firm Pixable for $33m ST PHOTO: LIM WUI LIANG

SINGTEL has paid US$26.5 million ($32.6 million) for an American firm that makes photo apps for mobile devices.

The move to buy Pixable is another step in the telco's strategy to increase its clout as an Internet services company.

Pixable launched an online photo album creation service three years ago. It then released an app to let users search and sort photos across different social networks.

The popular app - more than four million users have downloaded it onto tablets and smartphones - also ranks friends' photo feeds based on a user's click history. For instance, photos from friends and family would be ranked higher.

SingTel said yesterday that it planned to offer photo services to its 462 million mobile customers in Asia and Africa, but it did not specify any timeframe.

"Pixable's expertise and customer engagement give us a foundation to go beyond viewing photos to using photos as a way to stimulate simple immersive communication," said Mr Allen Lew, the chief executive of SingTel's digital life division.

"Our customers want assistance from service providers to prioritise and organise the multiple contacts and content they deal with daily in their lives."

Pixable CEO Inaki Berenguer said SingTel's global reach would allow the start-up to expand, particularly in emerging markets.

They include Indonesia and the Philippines, where SingTel has millions of mobile phone clients through stakes in associates such as Telkomsel and Globe Telecom.

The deal comes hot on the heels of similar purchases by SingTel, which is seeking to build itself into an Internet services firm much like Google even as growth from its traditional telecom businesses tapers off.

In May, the telco bought Singapore food website HungryGoWhere for US$9.4 million, just two months after paying US$321 million for American-based advertising firm Amobee.

The Pixable buy is SingTel's second-largest in the non-telco space after Amobee.

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