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CRYPTOLOGIC BUYS INTO ASIAN MOBILE DEVELOPER Asian expansion plan continues to develop Dublin-based online gambling software developer CryptoLogic Limited continued its aggressive expansion into Asia this week with an agreement to take a substantial minority interest in South Korea’s Mobilebus Inc., one of Asia’s fastest-growing mobile and PC game developers and publishers. Financial details on the deal were not disclosed. CryptoLogic will have representation on the Mobilebus board of directors and the option to increase its ownership to a majority position in the future. The deal is expected to close within 30 days. The strategic investment will enable CryptoLogic and Mobilebus to create new games and to develop and acquire new casual game portals for South Korea, which a spokesman described as one of the world’s most sophisticated gaming markets. Korea already boasts the world’s highest levels of Internet and mobile phone penetration and is considered by many experts to be the trendsetter for gaming in Asia. Many Chinese and North American publishers source content and technology from Korea. The investment marks another key milestone in CryptoLogic’s global diversification and expansion, and another key step into the lucrative Asian market said Brian Hadfield, CryptoLogic’s President and CEO. “Asia is critical to CryptoLogic’s ‘follow the sun’ approach to business: it’s about having development going around the clock, around the world," Hadfield said. "As an experienced game developer in a gaming-friendly market, Mobilebus will help bring players a uniquely Korean entertainment experience.” The new portals will offer traditional Korean card and arcade games, as well as a suite of poker games including 7 Poker, High-Low and Texas Hold’em. The subscription-based games will feature avatars and cyber-cash systems, a popular and widely accepted means of payment on Asian sites. Additional revenue will be generated from in-game advertising and sponsorship. “CryptoLogic’s track record of integrity, innovation and performance will help Mobilebus take its business to new heights and open up new avenues for growth,” said John Lee, CEO of Mobilebus Inc. “Together, our companies are poised to make an impact in this highly profitable market.” Government sources estimate that the Korean market for online and mobile card games exceeds $1 billion, with the casual card game segment growing at 24 percent per annum. This growth could occur even faster as Korea, like neighbouring Japan and Taiwan, considers allowing land-based gaming for the first time. Koreans, Japanese and Taiwanese are already some of the world’s biggest spenders on online gaming sites, and land-based gaming typically drives up online gaming spending over time, a Cryptologic briefing disclosed. For CryptoLogic, the Korean drive represents the latest in a series of strategic moves to target the Asian market. The company’s other investments include significant stakes in 568 Network Inc., Mikoishi Studios and Mahjong Time. “As CryptoLogic continues to build its base in Asia, it’s critical that we partner with growth-oriented developers who combine deep skills in Web 2.0 and 3G mobile technologies with strong relationships in the entertainment and gaming space,” said Shailesh Naik, Managing Director of CryptoLogic Asia-Pacific. “In every market we enter, that’s our primary goal – and in Mobilebus we have found another ideal partner.”