Mobile entertainment providers are pretty popular bridesmaids these days. Coming on the heels of News Corp.'s (NYSE:NWS) announcement yesterday that it would be buying a controlling stake in VeriSign's (NASDAQ:VRSN) Jamba, now RealNetworks (NASDAQ:RNWK) is snapping up South Korean ringtone heavy WiderThan (NASDAQ:WTHN).

The all-cash deal finds RealNetworks paying $17.05 a share -- or $350 million -- to acquire WiderThan. RealNetworks is good for the money. The company behind the RealPlayer media player and the Rhapsody digital music service closed out the second quarter with $769 million in unrestricted greenbacks and was still due to collect more money after settling with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

WiderThan is a profitable and growing entity, sporting double-digit net profit margins through the first half of 2006. RealNetworks claims that the deal will be accretive to earnings by next year, and analyst targets bear that out. RealNetworks is fetching 28 times next year's bottom-line target, while its buyout price of WiderThan implies a value of 16 times next year's earnings.

Mobile services have been all the rage lately. It's easy to see why a cash-rich company like RealNetworks is drawn to the space, given the fact that consumers are willing to pay more for a ringtone than for an actual digital download through its Rhapsody service. Rival Napster (NASDAQ:NAPS) is also flush with cash, so it will be interesting to see if it makes a move to keep up with the digital Joneses.

These days, it may not have much of a choice.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has bought just one ringtone in his life and it was pretty lame. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.