Zodiac Interactive Spins Off Mobile Unit

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Zodiac Interactive has sold Zodigo, its mobile-content search engine subsidiary, to a management buy-out group led by Matt Johnston, formerly Zodiac's senior vice president of strategy and Zodigo's CEO.

New York-based Zodigo has developed a service that lets mobile-phone subscribers buy and ringtones, wallpaper, video and other digital content from its Web site or on their TVs through deals with cable or satellite TV operators.

Financial terms of the transaction were not announced. Zodigo has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from outside investors.

 "In order for Zodigo to be truly successful as the prominent source for mobile content discovery, it needs to be a complete entity and focus solely on the mobile content sector, which is huge and continuing to grow rapidly," Johnston said, in a statement.

Zodiac COO Alex Libkind said the company is spinning off Zodigo because Zodiac needs to "continue to focus on interactive television as it moves from native [implementations] to OCAP/tru2way."

Zodigo has said at least three cable operators are preparing to offer the service, previously called “TV Call Me,” which allows digital-cable subscribers to browse mobile content from their TVs.

Zodigo claims it covers 97% of the North American market, with partners including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile. All transactions are billed through the mobile operators, and Zodigo's distribution partners will receive about 15% of the revenue.

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