Internet marketing and distribution companies WhiteSmoke Software Ltd. (TASE: WSMK) and Apply (TASE: APLY) are continuing to expand the business of Kibo Mobile-Tech, their joint venture. Kibo is developing branded keyboard apps in various languages for sports clubs and brands. The two companies announced yesterday that they had obtained approval from Apple Computers to distribute and market Kibo's app for iPhone and iPad users on the basis of Apple's iTunes platform. Up until now, the app has been distributed on Android devices. Kibo is expected to commence marketing on this platform in the coming weeks. The companies said, "Launching the app in the iTunes store is likely to have a significant impact on the cumulative number of installations of all of Kibo's branded keyboards."
The two companies' shares responded with 2-3% rises. The share of WhiteSmoke, controlled by Evolution Venture Capital, whose founder and managing partner is Dr. Ram Vromen, has soared 70% over the past year, pushing the company's market cap up to NIS 125 million. Other prominent shareholders in WhiteSmoke include the Yelin Lapidot investment house, Yair Goldfinger, Danny Tocatly, and Yariv Gilat.
The share price of Apply, controlled by Babylon Ltd. (TASE:BBYL) controlling shareholder Noam Lanir, has climbed 65% over the past year, and now gives the company a NIS 145 million market cap. Apply develops marketing and distribution channels for cellular apps.
Milan soccer club is also involved
In recent months, WhiteSmoke and Apply have been redoubling their efforts to expand Kibo's business. At the end of last week, they reported that a cooperation agreement had been signed with Italian soccer club A.C. Milan for the development and distribution of a branded keyboard with content in various languages, and added that Kibo was negotiating with other international brands. Kibo said that since its branded keyboards were launched in November 2014, they have been installed over six million times. So far, Kibo has signed cooperation agreements with soccer clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain; Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool in the UK; and Benfica in Portugal, among others. The company also signed agreements with children's brand Hello Kitty and soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, represented by Polaris Sports, which is expected to hold 2% of Kibo's capital. Another partner in the venture is international soccer player agent Pinchas "Pini" Zahavi, who will hold 15% of Kibo's shares.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 29, 2015
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