The ringtones market ain’t what it used to be, but there’s life in it yet: Mobile Streams, a mobile content outfit part-owned by Liberty Media (NSDQ: LINTA) that sold ringtones under the Ringtones.com brand, has now sold that domain to an undisclosed buyer for $750,000.
As part of the deal, Mobile Streams will retain ownership of specific Latin American Ringtones.com sub-domains for an interim transitional period, bringing the net cash consideration down to $575,000, according to statement from Mobile Streams (SEA: MOS). Ian Brewer, the outgoing CFO of Mobile Streams, tells mocoNews.net that only the domain name has been sold; the content and all related content deals with third parties remain with Mobile Streams. (The site, as of today, still appears to be active.)
Mobile Streams — founded as a UK company in 1999 by Simon Buckingham (currently the CEO) — started by selling ringtones, mobile wallpaper and other phone furniture, opening an off-portal app store in the U.S. in 2009. But over the last year it has been shifting its business away from this to concentrate on apps for smartphones, tablets, PCs and ebook readers.
Mobile Streams aggregates and sells these through its own retail presence at Appitalism.com, and also via reselling relationships with mobile operators. The most recent of these is a deal with TIM in Brazil, announced this week, in which TIM Brazil will sell content from Appitalism in its own app store.
Proceeds from the sale of Ringtones.com will be used to grow the apps business, Buckingham said in the release announcing the deal: “As we reinvent the company for the coming wave of open mobile services and apps, we are looking ahead to the exciting opportunities that our new Appitalism.com service presents. We want to ensure that the company has the appropriate financial resources necessary to take full advantage of the rapidly growing apps market.”
Mobile Streams says that it has “over five million premium apps” in its Appitalism store covering different platforms and devices. Mobile Streams announced in November that the music store has 10 million tracks.
As part of the company’s restructuring, Mobile Streams is also moving its group finance function from the UK to New York. As part of that, Gabriel Margent, who had been the CFO of the Appitalism business, becomes group CFO.
Liberty Media has a 15 percent stake in Mobile Streams, a share it acquired in 2006. Simon Buckingham is also the CEO of Zoombak, a Liberty subsidiary that focuses on GPS locator products.