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Glu grows again with iFone acquisition

Ballard sets his sights on the industry's No.2 spot

US publisher Glu Mobile has announced the acquisition of UK-based publisher and developer iFone, in a deal which could see the combined company challenging the dominance of top publishers EA/Jamdat and GameLoft.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the acquisition will see Glu taking over key brands including Atari, Hasbro, Sony and Sega titles, as well as games such as Lemmings, Monopoly and Sonic the Hedgehog from the iFone portfolio.

The acquisition will also significantly strengthen Glu's position in the European market, as iFone was the top-performing mobile publisher in the UK in both 2004 and 2005, according to figures from ELSPA and Chart-Track.

Speaking to about the deal this week, Glu Mobile boss Greg Ballard said that the acquisition would "have the effect of separating Glu from the rest of the pack" in the mobile industry.

"We're a bigger company as a result of combining with iFone," he explained. "As a matter of fact, it makes us the number two player in Europe; it probably makes us the number two player in the US, or very close to the number two player; it puts us in the top three on a worldwide basis."

Ballard described Glu in the wake of the acquisition as "the leading independent company" in the industry, saying that the mobile sector is now a "three company race between EA, Gameloft, and Glu."

Also in the interview, the Glu Mobile president and CEO warned that the industry still delivers too many low-quality games to operators and consumers, and told us that he believes that operators should work with a smaller number of publishers in order to help this problem.

Click here to read the full text of our exclusive interview with Greg Ballard.

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