The firm will presumably be absorbed into the FT's existing operations, allowing it to build mobile apps internally rather than outsource them. Whatever the price tag may have been, it represents a pretty significant investment in mobile for a newspaper company.
Assanka had evidently won the FT over with the work it had done previously for the company. After they refused to adhere to Apple's revised subscription revenue share, the FT saw its native iOS app pulled from the App Store. Rather than give in to Apple's terms, they simply focused on developing a Web-based mobile and tablet app written using HTML5 and related technologies. Ultimately, that Assanka-produced app saw more traffic than the publication's original iOS application.
In addition to forgoing Apple's revenue share, the HTML5-based app, which looks and feels a lot like a native tablet or smartphone application, has the advantage of being accessible from a range of devices and much easier to update. It also enables them to build out sites with the kind of responsive design techniques utilized by publications like the Boston Globe.
Mobile and tablet development is only going to increase in importance for publishers in the future. With this acquisition, FT can continue to enhance its existing mobile apps and use the development talent at Assanka to help build out future initiatives on various devices.