Cisco completes US$ 5bn acquisition of NDS

US telecoms equipment vendor Cisco has completed the acquisition of UK-based content protection experts NDS Group for US$ 5bn which it announced back in March, to the surprise of many in the TV technology industry.

Having bought NDS from shareholders Permira (holder of 51% of overall stock) and News Corp (owner of the remaining 49%), Cisco plans to use its expertise in video software and content security solutions to accelerate take-up of its Videoscape platform, which enables service providers and media companies to deliver next-generation video entertainment experiences.

The acquisition is also expected to to expand Cisco’s global video footprint in new and emerging markets, further broadening its service provider presence and deepening customer relationships, thanks to the acquired company’s customer base of over 75 pay-TV operators around the world.

NDS’ employees are now to join Cisco’s Service Provider Video Technology Group (SPVTG), led by Senior Vice President and General Manager Jesper Andersen. With the close of this transaction, Dr. Abe Peled, formerly NDS chairman and CEO, becomes Senior Vice President and Chief Strategist for Cisco’s Video and Collaboration Group, of which SPVTG is a part.

NDS was founded in Israel in 1988, with its solutions based on technology developed by Israeli cryptographer Adi Shamir, and was quickly acquired by its primary customer, News Corp, before being spun off as a public company in 1999.

After a ten-year period which saw it relocate to Jerusalem’s Har Hotzvim high-tech industrial park, private equity firm Permira and News Corp announced a US$ 3.6bn agreement to buy the public holding in NDS, turning it into a private company once more, with Permira being the majority (51%) shareholder.

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