Liberate diversifies with Sigma buy

Sat, 08/31/2002 - 8:00pm

Middleware vendor Liberate Technologies fattened its technology portfolio with the acquisition of Canada-based OSS company Sigma Systems Group for roughly $62 million in cash. Sigma threw in $20 million to help finance the deal, which could close by the third quarter of 2002.

Liberate, like its competitors, has been stung by a slow-moving iTV sector. Adding Sigma to the mix certainly will diversify its business. Sigma's OSS customers include Cox Communications, Comcast Cable, Cogeco, Rogers Cable and Shaw Communications, among others. Sigma also opened a European office late last year to address OSS needs emerging for cable operators across the pond. Although Sigma's OSS products have focused on high-speed data and telephony services, the company also has product plans to extend that OSS expertise into cable-based video services.

Liberate, in a conference call with reporters, noted that the cable industry has spent billions upgrading its networks, and now is the time for operators to recoup that investment, but they need an OSS platform that will tie together and package their triple play of voice, video and data services. By combining Liberate's set-top software and Sigma's OSS platform, the merged company hopes to take care of much of the integration work and build a service platform that will touch every point from the headend to the consumer's home.

It's at the consumer's home, and more specifically, on the television screen, where Liberate hopes its eventual OSS-client software duo will play a big role in how customers eventually change and add a suite of cable services.


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