Ina Fried

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News Corp. Sells Fox Mobile Group to Investment Firm

News Corp. said on Wednesday that it had sold its Fox Mobile Group unit to Jesta Group, an investor firm. The deal closed today, the parties said, but terms were not disclosed.

The mobile entertainment unit, which includes Jamster, Mobizzo and mobile video service BitBop, will be renamed and become a part of Jesta Mobile Holdings.

“We believe that mobile entertainment is an important emerging market and we are excited about this acquisition and the opportunities for growth it presents,” said Jesta President Jason Aintabi in a statement. “FMG’s unique 10-year history in mobile entertainment services; its stature as a trusted partner with carriers and device manufacturers; and its many successful consumer brands give it a clear advantage in this rapidly developing sector.”

BoomTown’s Kara Swisher reported earlier this year that News Corp. had been looking for a buyer for the unit. Fox Mobile Group, which also saw job cuts earlier this year, is made up largely of properties acquired from VeriSign for more than $300 million. (It was a two-stage deal, with News Corp. acquiring a stake in 2006 and buying the remaining part back in 2008.) The company had also launched the BitBop mobile video service earlier this year.

The deal is the latest in a series of online divestitures for News Corp., which has sold a number of properties, including movie review site Rotten Tomatoes.

(Disclosure: All Things Digital is owned by News Corp.)

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik