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RealNetworks secures European expansion

US casual games provider RealNetworks has announced the acquisition of Netherlands-based Zylom, in an effort to strengthen the casual games market and expand its operations throughout Europe.

US casual games provider RealNetworks has announced the acquisition of Netherlands firm Zylom as part of plans to strengthen the casual games market and expand its operations throughout Europe.

Zylom, founded in 2001, currently provides a library of over 70 casual PC games localised in seven languages. The company uses its own direct-to-consumer website, and distributes titles through partnerships with Yahoo, Wanadoo and AOL.

The catalogue of downloadable PC titles includes hits such as Hotel Solitaire, Mirror Magic and PopCap's Bejeweled.

Zylom CEO Rutger Peters commented: "By teaming up with Real, we will be the strongest casual games company in Europe. Our combined strengths will allow us to deliver the very best games and services to our portal and ISP partners throughout the European market."

"We're delighted to bring Zylom into the RealNetworks family," added RealNetworks founder and CEO Rob Glaser. "Games are a very serious business at Real. By combining Zylom's broad-based European distribution and strong titles with our RealArcade, GameHouse, and Mr.Goodliving properties, we will be able to deliver more fun to more consumers around the world than ever before."

The news comes just days after rival casual games provider PopCap Games announced its own plans for a European expansion with the establishment of PopCap International, based in Dublin.

RealNetworks believes that its development strategy following the latest acquisition, which is valued at up to USD 21 million, will enable the combined companies to establish a lead in the casual games market that mirrors and potentially exceeds the company's success in the US.

"This combination of companies will create the largest source of high-quality games localized for the European market," said Zylom COO Erik Goossens. "We are committed to aggressively expand our local content and customer support for all of Europe."

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