Kiver, the Milan-based digital content provider, has launched a new division, Flashport, which will specialize in preloading content for digital flash memory cards.

Kiver, founded in 2003, is co-owner of Downlovers, which launched last summer as Europe's first ad-funded free music download service.

The new venture arises from Kiver's acquisition of Misa Mobile, a unit of Misa, a company based in the north-eastern Italian city of Udine. Misa is considered one of Europe's leading operators in the area of flash memory cards. Misa Mobile's specialty is the "embedding" of content in a variety of memory systems, including USB and mobile phone memory cards.

With the acquisition, Misa's founder and CEO, Michele Spangaro, joins Kiver's senior management team.

In a statement Kiver's CEO Gianluca Perrelli says: "This new division will enable us to integrate content with technologically advanced digital support systems and this will help increase our supply for both mainstream businesses and record labels."

Perrelli adds: "We continue to be something of a trendsetter (in Italy). In 2004 we were the first company to introduce USB memory keys for music, while last year we started the fashion for USB bracelets."

Perrelli tells, "Memory cards represent a huge market."