Didn't see this one coming...
Sony has announced today that is has signed a merger agreement with Gracenote (formerly CDDB) to buy the company for $260m plus other 'contingent consideration'.
"Gracenote is a global leader in technology and services for digital media identification, enrichment, and recommendation, and these capabilities will be essential to the next wave of innovation in content, services, and consumer electronics", said Tim Schaaff, SCA senior vice president, software. "Sony sees tremendous growth potential in developing Gracenote as a separately run business unit, and by broadly embracing Gracenote's platforms, Sony expects to significantly enhance and accelerate its own digital content, service, and device initiatives."
"We are very pleased to join Sony as its strategic vision is very much in line with our own," said Craig Palmer, Gracenote CEO. "Having a closer connection with the content and digital services community will accelerate adoption of Gracenote technologies, and the relationship will also give us the resources necessary to rapidly expand development of next generation products for the industry."
Given Gracenote is famed for its open approach to users and its wide ranging partnerships with the likes of Amazon, iTunes, Yahoo! Music Jukebox, Winamp, Alpine, Panasonic and Philips not to mention Sony, Sony Ericsson and many more it will be interesting to see what Sony has in store for the business. After all, Sony isn't renowned for a willingness to share its technology so this could mean a) bad news for current partners or b) see them face a significant licence price hike.
Expect the fallout from this to begin filtering through shortly. Can't say we're thrilled...