There appears to be a good old bidding war going on for another VoIP startup, Jajah, following yesterday’s news about the acquisition of Gizmo5 by Google, a source in Silicon Valley with knowledge of the talks informs us.
Details are scarce at the moment, but Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Telefónica Europe (O2) are said to be looking to buy the venture capital-backed company for a price ranging from $200M to $400M. We’re digging for more information.
Jajah was founded back in 2005 and in March 2006 introduced the world to a pretty decent consumer service that allowed cellphone users access Jajah’s low-cost calling system through their mobile devices, over the Web. Jajah went on to raise $28 million in VC funding from investors like Sequoia Capital, Globespan Capital Partners, Deutsche Telekom and Intel.
The Skype rival amassed about 10 million users when in April 2008 they announced a deal that would bring its premium voice services to nearly 100 million Yahoo Messenger users more. The deal proved crucial for Jajah, which connected its 1 billionth call last Summer. And that was before it turned to Twitter to spread the voice service even more.
Jajah says it currently serves over 25 million consumers and business callers in more than 122 countries, and provides calling access to more than 200 destinations globally. It’s unclear how much revenue it is generating from these users, but it’s apparently enough – or has enough potential to scale and grow – to make for an interesting strategical acquisition target for companies with deep enough pockets to engage in a bidding war.
It’s odd to see O2 mentioned as one of the companies who’s sitting at the negotiation tables, and I consider Microsoft and Cisco to be more likely buyers. Both of them sit on heaps of cash and are undeniably acquisition-hungry, and Redmond has the added benefit of having entered into a partnership with Jajah on enterprise IP communication solutions.
The price range seems to be on the high end, but that’s what happens when a bidding war goes the way the company that’s on the table (and its financial backers) would want it to go.
We’re cataloging this as a solid, plausible rumor for now and will update with more information / confirmation as soon as it comes in.