Sprint scoops up Handmark, OneLouder to boost mobile ad aspirations


Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) has acquired mobile software development and distribution firm Handmark, along with its social media apps and ad unit, OneLouder. The deal officially closed last month. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Thirteen-year-old Handmark is headquartered just 20 miles north of Sprint's Overland Park, Kan., headquarters--the companies have partnered on multiple initiatives over the years, including news app Pocket Express as well as the Sprint ID app bundle program. In mid-2011, Handmark spun off OneLouder, which builds social-themed apps including Twitter client TweetCaster and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) counterpart FriendCaster. While Handmark declined to divulge revenue, founder and CEO Augie Grasis told Kansas City Business Journal that OneLouder has experienced 200 percent revenue growth since going live two years ago.

Both Handmark and OneLouder will continue to operate under their current brands and will retain all 50 employees. "The benefit is huge to us," Grasis said. "We've built a proof of concept, but to really scale it, having a partner like Sprint can put apps on many more phones and [give us] many more customers."

Sprint said it will leverage Handmark and OneLouder's respective assets to expand its Pinsight Media+ targeted advertising service, launched in 2012 in partnership with mobile advertising services provider Amobee. Pinsight Media+ connects marketers and third-party publishers with mobile advertising networks including Jumptap and RedMas: Sprint subscribers can select whether they wish to share anonymous information about their location and mobile device activities, with customers who consent to the program receiving targeted ads delivered across operator-owned properties like Sprint Zone and the Sprint Web on-deck portal, as well as third-party properties.

Kevin McGinnis, Sprint's vice president of product platforms and services, told KansasCity.com that users access OneLouder apps many times throughout the course of each day, creating opportunities to nurture ongoing interactions between consumers and advertisers. In addition, OneLouder's relationships with multiple ad networks make it easier for Pinsight Media+ to "get the right ad in the right spot," McGinnis said. "The point of the acquisition was to accelerate growth in what we believe will be a big revenue opportunity," he added.

Earlier this year, Sprint teamed with European communications giant Telefónica to create a multinational mobile advertising network reaching more than 370 million subscribers across the U.S., U.K., German and Brazilian markets. The venture builds user profiles based on apps and mobile websites they access.

This month, Sprint also agreed to preload branded content from Time Inc. on select devices, offering subscribers access to entertainment, lifestyle, sports and business news. Sprint and Time will additionally collaborate on mobile advertising: The two firms will be given access to each other's respective premium mobile properties and audiences to extend the reach of client ad campaigns.

For more:
- read this Kansas City Business Journal article
- read this KansasCity.com article
- read this Silicon Prairie News article

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