VeriSign Plans to Buy MMS Leader LightSurf

Rhett Pardon
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Eager to get into the mobile market, VeriSign Inc. said Monday it agreed to purchase LightSurf Technologies for $270 million.

LightSurf is credited with developing software and services that allow customers of North American cellphone carriers to email and electronically modify images so they can be properly displayed on various kinds of handsets and other computers.

VeriSign recently branched out from securing web commerce transactions to a range of other communications services. It operates a huge signaling network, which helps phone carriers manage transactions such as wireless text messages and cellular roaming, as well as the systems needed to help call up web pages based on “.com” and “.net” addresses.

The Mountain View, Calif., company said, in a statement, it expects the all-stock acquisition for the seven-year-old company to generate at least $30 million in incremental revenues for the remaining period of 2005.

LightSurf is the led by entrepreneur Philippe Kahn, who sold his StarFish Software to Motorola Inc. in 1998 for $253 million. But the 52-year-old is best known for founding what is now Borland Software Corp.

Kahn is expected to stay on with the company after the deal is finalized.

LightSurf has 250 employees, about half at its headquarters in Santa Cruz, Calif., and the remainder in Bangalore, India.