Minneapolis, Minnesota, headquartered Digital River, a global provider of e-commerce solutions, just bought a minority but “significant” stake (valued at between $15 and $30 million) in Spanish software download firm Softonic, according to Spain financial daily Expansion. In the medium term Digital River, could increase its stake to 20%, although the exact percentage has not been determined yet. Spain media group Intercom will continue to hold a majority stake in Softonic.

Digital River will help Softonic expand in the U.S. In addition it will also provide its expertise for an eventual public offering of Softonic. Headquartered in Barcerlona, Softonic had 2008 revenues of almost $50 million and earnings of $12 million. It employs more than 140 employees.

Softonic is the leading service provider for free and paid software downloads (its portfolio contains more than 100,000 downloadable programs) in Spain and the most visited site overall with more than 49 million unique users last November, according to OJD Interactiva, ahead of the website of newspaper El Mundo (which recently launched an edition for the Americas headquatered in Miami), Marca.com (sports portal) Emagister (education and employment site), Terra.es (portal) and Weblogs (blog aggregator).

Digital River expertise lies in marketing and selling free software over the Internet. The company’s share are traded on Nasdaq. In 2008 it had revenues of $ 394 million and earnings of $63.6 million. 43% of its revenues are foreign (non U.S. based). Digital River has offices in major U.S. cities, Brazil, China, United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Luxemburg and Taiwan. 

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