Thomson snaps up Canal+ Technologies

Thu, 10/31/2002 - 7:00pm

Thomson Multimedia beefed up its technology portfolio via the purchase of middleware and conditional access provider Canal+ Technologies.

Thomson said it will acquire Canal+ Group's 89 percent stake in the technology unit for $186 million in cash. Prior to the deal, Thomson owned a 3.19 percent stake in the company. Other minority stake holders include Sony Corp. (3.2 percent), Sogecable SA (3.2 percent) and Sun Microsystems (1.4 percent).

Thomson, a leading consumer electronics vendor, says it pursued the controlling interest in Canal+ Technologies because of its experience in the conditional access and interactive software markets. Canal+ Technologies' portfolio consists of MediaGuard and MediaHighway. MediaGuard, a conditional access system, is designed to enable digital television operators to deliver encrypted TV channels on a fully secured platform. The MediaHighway middleware enables the deployment of advanced interactive TV applications such as electronic program guides, pay-per-view and home banking. Canal+ software solutions are deployed in more than 14 million set-top boxes worldwide, most of them outside the U.S.

Canal+ Group is a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal, which had been expected to start selling off some non-core assets to pay down its $33 billion debt load in hopes of returning to profitability.

Upon the deal's closing, Canal+ Technologies' operating units will be managed within the Thomson New Media Services division. At the time of the deal, Canal+ Technologies employed 644 people worldwide: 562 in Paris, 48 in the U.S., 27 in the U.K. and seven in China.


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