FeedHenry, the Waterford-based mobile software company, has been bought for $80m (€63.5m) in cash by US multinational software firm, Red Hat.

Feedhenry develops mobile internet technology that allows companies to create specialist mobile applications. The company, which now has 70 staff, was founded by serial startup entrepreneur Barry Downes.

A number of shareholders will benefit from the deal, including CEO Cathal McGloin and other members of the management team, as will minor shareholders Enterprise Ireland and the Waterford Institute of Technology. Other shareholders in the company were Intel Capital, Kernel Capital and ACT Venture Capital.

CEO Cathal McGloin told The Irish Independent that the company will remain in Waterford. 

“Red Hat guys have a great track record in finding technologies and helping them develop where they are,” he said. “ We’re excited about their commitment working with us in Waterford. And we can see potential down the road for expanding.”

Recent investment research by Forrester estimated that the mobile apps market would grow to $36bn by 2015.

"We won a €2m deal some weeks ago and we're starting to see lots of deals come along," said McGloin last month. "We're beating companies like SAP and IBM. There's a huge transition from desktop to mobile underway. We have solutions, which is why we're now partnering with huge companies like VMWare, Rackspace and HP."

“The mobile application platform is one of the fastest growing segments of the enterprise software market,” said Craig Muzilla, senior vice president of Red Hat.

“As mobile devices have penetrated into every aspect of enterprise computing, enterprise software customers are looking for easier and more efficient ways for their developers to build mobile applications that extend and enhance traditional enterprise applications. FeedHenry will help us enable customers to take advantage of the capabilities of mobile with the security, scalability, and reliability of Red Hat enterprise software."