Blog Post

Skinkers Agency Buying Mobile Developer Umee

Another acquisition that points to the ongoing covergence and consolidation in the mobile and digital media industries, this time in the UK.

Skinkers — a company that has built desktop alerts tools for clients like the BBC and the English soccer Premier League — is buying Sprawl Technologies Limited, owners of Umee, which develops iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry apps for a number of media brands including Wallpaper Magazine, the Daily Telegraph, and the music industry weekly NME magazine.

The news was reported by Skinkers in a blog post by Rob Noble, the company’s COO.

In an interview with, Noble said the company was not disclosing financial terms of the acquisition, which was made in an all-cash deal.

Up to now, Skinkers has worked as a digital media solutions company, chalking up some key, high-profile projects, such as the development of the BBC iPlayer VOD system for the desktop. It also had some mobile operations, such as push notification services that it operated on behalf of some of its clients. Other customers include non-media brands such as Capital One, Zurich Insurance, the NHS, and American Airlines.

The addition of Umee’s mobile apps development skills will now round out its portfolio to offer a complete range of digital media services to customers.

It’s all about integrated apps,” says Noble. “There are a number of companies out there offering apps but not many offering the whole range of services, from website and desktop work through to apps.”

As for products on the horizon, Noble says the company is now building a reader and book manager app “for everything from Android tablets to the Sony (NYSE: SNE) Reader and mobile phones.” This will work along the lines of what Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) does with its Kindle service of being able to buy content once and consume it anywhere.

“Customers are now looking for that integrated experience,” he says. “We wanted to beef up our mobile capabilities to work on this product, and when we started to work with Umee, we liked them so much we ended up buying the company.”

Andrew Hawkins of Umee becomes the director of mobile for Skinkers and the company will be taking on all of Umee’s small existing staff. The combined company will continue to be based at Skinkers’ London headquarters.