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Thumbplay Sells Its Ringtone Business To SendMe Mobile

Looks like game over for Thumbplay as a standalone entity: we have learned that the mobile content company’s last remaining asset — its ringtones, games and other casual mobile entertainment business — has been sold to SendMe Mobile for an undisclosed sum. As we revealed exclusively at the beginning of March, the music streaming portion of the business, Thumbplay Music, was sold to a large media company, later revealed to be Clear Channel (OTCBB: CCMO).

A spokesperson for SendMe Mobile has confirmed the acquisition, saying that integration efforts are already underway. The company plans to formally announce the deal “later this month,” she said.

SendMe Mobile, like Thumbplay, focuses on ringtones, games and other casual mobile entertainment. Founded in June 2006, the company launched just before the smartphone and apps explosion spearheaded by the iPhone and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), and has remained committed to feature phones in its products. Its content can also, of course, be consumed on smartphones, and there is a growing number of services that were originally designed for feature phones, such as Mocospace, which are trying to acquire more customers on these higher-spending platforms.

“We figured that mobile games didn’t have to be about complicated downloads or only playable on a few of the latest, most expensive handsets,” SendMe writes on its site. “We saw that text messaging, connecting with other people and personalization were areas where we could make fun products available for anyone with a phone and a few minutes.”

In addition to the SendMe brand, the company also sells content via several other brands, including MBuzzy, Solow and WT411.

It’s not clear whether the Thumbplay brand will be retained in this portfolio or folded into the other services. But it looks like it could be the latter: the URL for Thumbplay now directly goes to a Thumbplay Music page with Clear Channel’s “iheartradio” branding on it.

Backers for the San Francisco-based SendMe include True Ventures, Spark Capital, Grandbanks Capital, Triangle Peak Partners and Amicus Capital, as well as angel investors including Scott Kurnit, founder of

Thumbplay’s other asset, Thumbplay Music, was bought by Clear Channel for an undisclosed sum in March. Sources close to the deal said it was for less than 10 percent of its current valuation. The last published valuation was in 2008 for $400 million, with the company having picked up more than $40 million in funding in its lifetime. Thumbplay Music was estimated to have amassed only 20,000 subscribers since launching its cloud-based music service last year.

3 Responses to “Thumbplay Sells Its Ringtone Business To SendMe Mobile”

  1. Somewhat tangential to the story, but I think just as interesting.  I don’t know if people realize or care about it, but selling ringtones is a very expensive thing for the sellers, because they get charged very high fees when accepting credit cards on their websites.  I know that there are other ways to get paid on your website as well, but the problem is that none of them is cheap when you are selling something that is so low in value.