Thumbplay, the mobile content retailer which is rumored to be on sale, is apparently not. It has raised a big $18 million fifth round, from its previous investors and new ones.
The investors in this round include Softbank Capital, i-Hatch Ventures and *Verizon* Investments. We reported wrongly on the new investors: the new round was led by Brookside Capital Partners, the public equity affiliate of Bain Capital, and Cross Creek Capital, a private equity affiliate of Wasatch Advisors.
This comes as we reported that Thumbplay had hired Morgan Stanley as a bank to look at strategic options. The company is now powering mobile content for online portals such as AOL (NYSE: TWX) and MSN, and has been working with music labels such as SonyBMG, among others. The company has been trying both the D2C and white-label model for its expansion beyond selling ringtones. It is a tough market for third party aggregators, but it is still early days on a consumer brand in mobile content, and the hope is that with the coming of open networks and high speed data, third party players can play a bigger role than just being beholden to the operators.