Sulake Enters The Social Networking Market

Sulake Enters The Social Networking Market – Acquires a Highly Successful Social Networking Service in Finland with Intention to Launch Internationally

The company behind easy-to-use virtual world Habbo expands its product portfolio and becomes the largest online community company in the Nordics.
Helsinki, Finland (rushprnews) April 24, 2007 — Sulake Corporation, the company behind Habbo, one of the world’s largest virtual worlds for teenagers, takes a strong step towards the social networking scene by acquiring Finland’s leading social networking service IRC-Galleria.

The acquisition makes Sulake the biggest company in online communities and virtual worlds in the Nordic region. Sulake’s online services now reach more young people than any other media in Finland.

Sulake’s long-term goal has been to broaden its product portfolio with new online services, which can be launched internationally by utilizing the unique international network Sulake has built for Habbo. Currently Sulake has offices in 19 countries with a staff of over 300, over 150 payment methods in 32 countries, global hosting centers as well as distribution and marketing partners all over the world.

The objective of the deal is to launch a new social networking service based on IRC-Galleria concept to carefully selected countries using Sulake’s infrastructure and experience. The IRC-Galleria concept has localized versions already in Russia, Estonia, Lithuania and Germany.

Timo Soininen, CEO of Sulake Corporation: ”Sulake’s objective is to become a major global player in online entertainment by focusing on virtual worlds and social networking services. We want to build a portfolio of products, which offer a wide range of social interaction services and entertainment for different target groups and for different user needs. Our new service IRC-Galleria fits this goal perfectly. The company behind the service and its skilled employees together with Sulake’s current resources gives us a magnificent opportunity to build up a new internationally successful social networking service. Sulake has managed to make Habbo one the most spectacular success stories in the area of virtual worlds and communities and I’m confident we can do this again.”

Taneli Tikka, CEO of Dynamoid comments: ”Our service has always been about real and active users. Our average user spends more than 20 hours in the service monthly, which is over ten times more than an average user in MySpace. An active IRC-Galleria user spends more than 35 hours per month using the service. Being a part of the Sulake group gives us a perfect chance to develop our business for international markets. We are thrilled about the opportunity to join the international network that Sulake offers.”

2.2 billion monthly page impressions in IRC-Galleria

IRC-Galleria is by far the largest and most used social networking service in Finland. The site is visited by more than 850 000 Finns every week (source: TNS Metrix) and the service has over 415 000 active members. The site receives an astonishing 2.2 billion monthly page impressions, which makes it one of the most active online communities in the world.

IRC-Galleria is an interactive service where users can e.g. post and share their photos and music on their own customized site, joint different communities and communicate with people in many ways. Currently the members are on average 19.5 years old and over half of the registered are over 18. Basic usage of IRC-Gallery is free, but users have an option to purchase additional services and enhancements. The service can also be used with a mobile phone. (wap.irc.fi)

Finland: http://irc-galleria.net/
Russia: http://my-gallery.ru/
Germany: http://ircgalerie.net/
Estonia: http://minugalerii.ee/
Lithuania: http://manogalerija.lt

Habbo has over 75 million registered avatars

Sulake’s main product Habbo, one of the world’s largest and most popular virtual worlds for teenagers, has already over 76 million registered avatars. Currently operating in 29 countries, the Habbo communities are visited by 7 million users per month, each user spending an average of over 30 minutes per session in the virtual world and community.

For more information please contact:
Sulake Corporation Oy, Timo Soininen, CEO, tel. + 358 50 564 8269

Dynamoid Oy, Taneli Tikka, CEO, tel. +358 40 771 9828

General press contact:
Sulake Corporation Oy, Juhani Lassila, Communications Manager, tel. +358 40 541 2365

Press images: http://irc-galleria.net/press

About Sulake:
Sulake is an online entertainment company focused on virtual worlds and social networking. Sulake’s main product is Habbo, one of the world’s fastest growing virtual worlds and online communities for teenagers. There are localized Habbo communities in 29 countries on five continents. To date over 76 million Habbo characters have been created and 7 million unique users worldwide visit Habbo each month (source: Nielsen Netratings). Habbo brand is being extended to include mobile games and content as well as real-life products.

Sulake was established in 2000 and it has more than doubled its annual revenues each year. The main shareholders in Sulake include Taivas Group, Elisa Group, 3i Group plc, and Benchmark Capital followed by Movida Group (in Japan), the company’s founders Sampo Karjalainen and Aapo Kyrölä, Sulake’s CEO Timo Soininen and other personnel.

Sulake has offices in 19 countries. Headquarters is situated in Helsinki, Finland. Currently the company has 300 employees worldwide.

www.sulake.com
www.habbo.com

About Dynamoid
Dynamoid Oy is a company behing Finland’s most popular social networking service IRC-Gallery. The company was founded in 2003 and has grown significantly every year. Currently the company has 27 employees and besides the Finnish IRC-Galleria, the company has opened services in Russia, Estonia, Lithuania and Germany. The company’s product portfolio also includes the Dark Portal game community, aimed at World of Warcraft players.
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