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Tesco buys Mobcast in expansion of digital entertainment services

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Tesco has bought ebook platform provider Mobcast for £4.5m to strengthen its digital entertainment business.

The supermarket said today that the acquisition of the company, co-founded by bestselling author and former SAS soldier Andy McNab, would boost a stable of services offered through its Tesco Entertainment site where it sells physical products alongside downloads and streaming.

Mobcast provides a digital book retail platform featuring more than 130,000 titles to buy and read over a variety of devices, from smartphones to tablets and e-readers. Titles that have been bought are stored in the cloud and allow customers to build up a library of books that are not locked into a single device. Mobcast was founded in 2007 by Tony Lynch and Andy McNab to provide an online retail platform for digital books sold through mobile phones.

“We want our customers to have the widest choice in digital entertainment,” said Michael Comish, chief executive of Tesco Digital Entertainment. “We are already one of the UK’s largest booksellers and Mobcast will help us offer even more choice for the large and growing number of customers who want to buy and enjoy books on their digital devices whenever and wherever they want.”

Tony Lynch, chief executive of Mobcast, said: “Since we launched Mobcast in 2007, we have been passionate about innovation, the digital book market and allowing customers to read across their devices. We are delighted the products that Mobcast has developed will now be used to introduce the joys of eBook reading to more book lovers in the UK.”

Andy McNab, bestselling author and co-founder of Mobcast, said: “As an author I always thought the ability to carry your library around and read on all your personal devices would be a huge benefit to all. We have developed a product that makes this possible, and being acquired by Tesco ensures that this original vision will be available to as many people as possible.”

For Tesco, the purchase is the latest of a number of digital entertainment acquisitions. In 2011 it bought movie and TV streaming service blinkbox, while it also bought personalised internet radio service WE7 in June this year. When it bought blinkbox, Tesco said its vision was to allow viewers to buy a DVD in store and then download or stream the movie at home, building a parallel digital collection alongside physical copies of entertainment titles.

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