Japan’s NTT DoCoMo Pays $112M to Buy Remaining Stake in PackeVideo

Japanese communications provider NTT DoCoMo, which acquired a 35 percent stake in San Diego’s PacketVideo last year for $45.5 million, says it is acquiring the remaining 65 percent from holding company NextWave Wireless for $111.6 million.

Under terms of the deal, PacketVideo will become a wholly owned subsidiary of NTT DoCoMo. It will operate autonomously, with its own board of directors, under the leadership of its founder and longtime CEO, Jim Brailean. The company was founded in 1998, and provides software used by multimedia services around the world on millions of home and mobile devices.

“This investment in PacketVideo’s future by DoCoMo is a clear endorsement of PV’s leadership and innovation in media convergence and is designed to further that success,” Brailean tells me by e-mail tonight.

PacketVideo was the first company to put video on a cell phone in 1999, and PacketVideo says it provides more than 15 music services for mobile operators, including Verizon VCast Music, AT&T Music, Vodafone India, TeliaSonera, Telstra, Rogers Canada, Telus, and others. The company says it plans to continue to support all of its worldwide customers, and the majority of its business will continue to come from outside of Japan.

“I am very excited by this deal with DoCoMo and what it means to PV and our customers,” Brailean says in his e-mail. “With DoCoMo’s support we will accelerate our next generation of innovations for the mobile and converged media markets. These solutions will continue to position our global customers, the operators, as innovators and market leaders. It is PV and DoCoMo’s goal to continue to support PV’s global customers and grow our business to the point where, if we so chose, we can go public.”

What is unclear—at least at this hour—is what future remains for NextWave Wireless, the San Diego holding company that has operated PacketVideo since 2005, when it acquired the wireless multimedia technology provider. In recent years, NextWave had been dismantling or selling off its wireless semiconductor and network equipment businesses.

PacketVideo was the last major operating business for NextWave, which was delisted last month from the Nasdaq stock market for failing to meet the exchange’s requirement for maintaining a minimum $1 per share closing bid. In his e-mail to me, Brailean says NextWave are still holding and operating their wireless spectrum assets.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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