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Broadband Briefs for 07/17/09

Fri, 07/17/2009 - 8:00am

Espial signs VOD deal with Power & Tel
By Mike Robuck

IPTV software provider Espial Group has inked a reseller agreement with Power & Tel that allows Power & Tel to resell its VOD platform to IPTV service providers in the United States.

Memphis, Tenn.-based Power & Tel is an independent reseller of material for the telecommunications and cable TV industries, and it includes Espial MediaBase in its turnkey IPTV offering.

"The Espial MediaBase VOD platform provides a key differentiator for our IPTV solution. It is a cost-effective solution for enabling our customers to offer lucrative VOD and time-shifted TV services in both SD and HD formats," said Jim Drain, vice president of North American Sales for Power & Tel. "For our North American telco partners, Espial MediaBase is easy to implement, operate and manage."

More information on Espial’s MediaBase version 9.0 VOD platform will be available in the “New Products” section of CED’s August issue.

Shaw affiliate to purchase Mountain Cablevision
By CED staff

An affiliate of Canadian MSO Shaw Communications has entered into an agreement to acquire Mountain Cablevision, which is based in Hamilton, Ontario, and has approximately 41,000 cable customers, 28,000 Internet subscribers and 27,000 telephone customers. Shaw serves approximately 3.4 million customers in Canada.

The agreement is subject to CRTC and Toronto Stock Exchange approvals, and the consideration will consist of cash and may also include the issuance of class B non-voting participating shares of Shaw. Further details regarding the transaction will be provided following receipt of the necessary approvals.

“Mountain Cablevision represents one of the last remaining independent cable companies in Canada, and the acquisition provides us with an opportunity to grow our business. We are delighted that we were able to successfully enter into a purchase agreement with the Boris family through a very competitive sales process, and we look forward to welcoming Mountain Cablevision’s employees to the Shaw team,” said Jim Shaw, CEO and vice chair of Shaw.

Motorola shares sink after Goldman downgrade
By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – Shares of Motorola Inc. slid Thursday after Goldman Sachs cut the company's rating to "Neutral" from "Buy," citing a climb in the company's share price since late January.

In a note to investors, Goldman analyst Simona Jankowski said his "initial thesis was that the market was undervaluing Motorola's handset business, with the stock implying a negative $5 (billion) value" in January. Motorola stock is up more than 50 percent since Goldman assigned the company a "Buy" rating January 20. "We believe the market is now pricing in our view that the handset business should at least have a small positive value given potential break-even next year," Jankowski said.

Motorola's cell phone business had been struggling. The division posted an operating loss of $509 million for the first three months of the year, though that was narrowed from a loss of $595 million the quarter before. Jankowski acknowledged there is some risk that her downgrade could prove unwarranted if Motorola's new smartphones are more successful than expected.

Part of the unit's turnaround plan is a new set of phones based on Google Inc.'s Android operating system due out in the fourth quarter. But she said the risk of success or failure is fairly priced into the stock.

Sun shareholders approve $7.4B Oracle deal
By The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Sun Microsystems Inc.'s shareholders have approved the $7.4 billion sale of the struggling company to business software maker Oracle Corp. About 62 percent of Sun's shares were cast in favor of the deal at a special meeting Thursday.

The Justice Department last month extended its antitrust review, but Oracle's lawyers say it's not expected to prevent the deal from closing this summer.

Oracle's $9.50-per-share offer trumped a lower bid by rival IBM Corp. and was nearly double the price Sun had before acquisition talks leaked in March. Sun's finances have wobbled since the dot-com meltdown in 2001, in part because of a shift toward lower-cost computer servers.

Blockbuster to sell Archos notebooks in its stores
By Mike Robuck

Blockbuster said today that it would start selling Archos’ mini-notebook in its 1,000 stores across the nation. The Archos 10 notebook will be available for purchase for $299 in participating Blockbuster stores, the company said.

"Blockbuster strives to provide consumers with convenient access to media entertainment when and where they want it. Enhancing our consumer electronics offerings with an affordably priced netbook that allows customers to access our online rental, retail and download services, whether they're at home or on the road, is a natural fit," said Joanne DeLorenzo, vice president of product for Blockbuster.

Earlier this week, Blockbuster, which has struggled to keep up with Netflix, announced a deal to stream movies over the Internet directly into Samsung’s HDTVs and Blu-Ray players starting in the fall.

More Broadband Direct 07/17/09:
•  Dish, 46 states settle deceptive practices charges
•  Comcast adds more HD in Garden State
•  Cisco announces 1% layoff
•  Data for federal broadband grants now online
•  Missouri to build statewide optical network
•  Bel Fuse adds HomePlug transceiver modules
•  Intel closes strategic acquisition of Wind River
•  Report: Broadband TV doesn't mean viewers will cut cord
•  Google's slowing ad sales trump record Q2 profit
•  IBM raises guidance, profit blows past forecasts
•  Gains in tech stocks extend Wall Street's rally
•  Broadband Briefs for 07/17/09
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