Gannett Buys Minority Stake in Mobile Search Firm 4INFO

By: Miki Johnson

Gannett has made a minority investment in 4INFO, a Palo Alto, Calif., company that specializes in mobile search services, the companies announced today.

The two companies also entered into a marketing and distribution agreement, the financial terms of which were not disclosed.

4INFO’s collaboration with Gannett will begin with promotion of the company’s mobile information — such as sports scores and weather — within relevant sections of Gannett papers. This will begin with USA Today and branch out to other Gannett newspaper and broadcast operations, including Captivate Network, which provides content and advertising to 6,200 wireless screens in office tower elevators.

Gannett’s newly appointed Digital President Jack Williams called the arrangement “an excellent way to extend Gannett’s multi-platform approach to providing content to our customers.”

Launched March 14, 2005, 4INFO allows cell phone users to send a text message search to the company’s number (44636) and receive a free reply within a minute. Users who send a text to them with the word “hotspot” followed by their ZIP code quickly receive the name and address of the closest wifi hotspot. The search works similarly for topics including yellow page listings, stock quotes, hotel reservations, and movie listings.

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