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Thomson, just weeks removed from buying Canal Plus Technologies, has already shed one component of that purchase.

Thomson struck a deal to sell MediaGuard, the conditional access unit of its Canal Plus Technologies affiliate, to Swiss firm Kudelski Group for about $268.2 million.

Additionally, Thomson and Kudelski have formed a strategic partnership under which they will develop and integrate digital broadcast systems and use them to target U.S. telcos and cable and satellite operators.

The deal combines the assets of two leading CA platforms. Kudelski plans to converge the MediaGuard assets with its own Nagravision CA technologies. The company will also hire 200 employees tied to MediaGuard and interface Thomson's MediaHighway middleware with its CA platform. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

MediaGuard presently provides CA to about 10 million subscribers, and has generated net revenues of more than $68 million so far this year.

MediaGuard's cable claim to fame in the U.S. occurred in the late 1990s, when MediaOne Group (now part of Comcast Corp.) headed up an open conditional access system trial in Jacksonville, Fla. There, the MSO used MediaGuard in concert with a Divicom (now part of Harmonic Inc.) digital headend and set-tops from Philips and General Instrument (now part of Motorola Broadband).

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