Akamai has put in a $160 millon bid for multi-media management company Nine Systems.

The deal will see Akamai issue 3.1 million shares and pay $7 million in cash for the company which sells a service for setting up live and canned content, controlling how customers can use it and analysing how it is consumed - something that would expand Akamai's online content abilities.

Akamai helps enterprises and service providers get content and applications out to customers through its software and servers located in ISP data centres worldwide. Being able to deliver rich media well is a growing business as more video and audio offerings go up on the Internet and Web users learn to expect instant gratification through sites such as YouTube. The problem has also become more complicated with multimedia appearing on mobile devices such as mobile phones.

Nine Systems has a set of services controlled through a software suite called Stream OS. With it, providers can take a piece of content, set up how it will be delivered, protect it with Microsoft's Windows Media DRM (digital rights management), create a page where it can be sold and control how users can access it. Reporting tools include a worldwide map of where the content is being consumed and a voice-activated system for retrieving statistics from a mobile phone.

Other Nine Systems capabilities include setting up channels of related content and tagging media so the right advertising can be associated with it, Young said. Akamai will integrate the services with its delivery capabilities to create a one-stop shop for online media providers, he said.

Akamai said it will keep a majority of the company's 57 employees.