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Cisco wraps up purchase of NDS

Tue, 07/31/2012 - 2:08pm
Mike Robuck

Cisco announced this morning that it had closed its $5 billion purchase of digital TV software and security vendor NDS Group. Last week, the European Union gave its regulatory approval to the deal.

The deal was announced on March 15, and it marked a deeper commitment by Cisco to the video segment of its business. On the product side of the acquisition, Cisco said bringing NDS into the fold would accelerate the delivery of its Videoscape platform. NDS also brought its open software solutions and systems integration expertise into Cisco’s domain.

News Corp. and private equity firm Permira jointly owned NDS, which is based in the United Kingdom. News Corp. owned 49 percent of NDS, while Permira had the remaining 51 percent stake. The deal to buy NDS was Cisco’s biggest since it bought Scientific Atlanta in 2005 for $6.9 billion.

NDS brings a range of global customers, including BSkyB, Liberty Global and Canal Plus, into Cisco’s stable, as well as NDS’ VideoGuard conditional access and digital rights management technology, which NDS said has been deployed in 125 million pay-TV households, protecting more than $50 billion in revenues.

NDS’ 5,000 employees joined Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group (SPVTG), led by senior vice president and general manager Jesper Andersen.

"The addition of NDS' leading software solutions and systems integration expertise play a key role in accelerating the Cisco Videoscape platform aimed at delivering better-than-being-there entertainment experiences,” Andersen said. “Through our combined expertise, we look forward to providing the next-generation TV experience that is more immersive, engaging and social, while helping to create new revenue opportunities for our service provider customers."

With the close of the deal, Abe Peled, formerly NDS chairman and CEO, becomes senior vice president and chief strategist for Cisco's Video and Collaboration Group, which includes SPVTG. Peled reports to Marthin De Beer, senior vice president of Cisco's Video and Collaboration Group.

Cox Communications worked with NDS for the user interface on its Trio guide, as well as on its recent launch of streaming live TV to iPads.

Through its Professional Services Group, NDS, which has an office in Atlanta, has also worked closely with Cox and Comcast on tru2way implementations.

Two years ago, Cox and NDS announced they had extended their professional services and integration agreement through this year. NDS is also providing the middleware on Liberty Global’s next-generation Horizon video gateway. Liberty subsidiary UPC is slated to start deploying the Horizon gateway in various European countries this year.

In April, Rovi announced that it had extended its license agreement with NDS Group to allow NDS to continue to use its interactive program guide (IPG) patent portfolio for an additional five years.

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