updated 3/20/2006 2:20:23 PM ET 2006-03-20T19:20:23

Internet security and services provider VeriSign Inc. said Monday it will acquire privately held m-Qube, which helps businesses develop and sell mobile content and messaging services, for $250 million.

The deal, which is net of cash, is expected to be neutral to VeriSign's earnings for the rest of the year.

VeriSign said the acquisition will complement its recently acquired 3united and Kontiki operations, and extend its digital content services.

"M-Qube is the recognized market leader in delivering premium messaging and content services that can reach more than 200 million wireless subscribers in North America," VeriSign said in a statement. The company powers mobile storefronts and marketing campaigns for customers including Sony Pictures, CBS, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Warner Music Group and Reuters.

VeriSign acquired 3united, a wireless applications service provider, last month and purchased Kontiki, which provides managed peer delivery systems for video and digital content, earlier this month.

Watertown, Mass.-based m-Qube has about 200 employees across North America. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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