Cisco Gets Thumbs-Up For This HUGE BUY

Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) has received unconditional approval from European regulators for its takeover of U.K.-based television software developer NDS. The $5 billion acquisition is one of Cisco’s biggest ever and is expected to give it a leg up in the video communications market.

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The European Commission said it had investigated the deal for possible competition concerns, and found none. “The Commission’s investigation confirmed that the merged entity would continue to face competition from a number of strong competitors and that customers, namely pay-TV providers, would continue to have alternative suppliers in all markets concerned,” the regulator said in a statement.

NDS makes software that helps cable companies and satellite television to deliver content to consumer devices in a protected way. Cisco, known largely for being a network equipment maker, is hoping to use NDS’ flagship product, VideoGuard, to complement its own video offerings. VideoGuard is installed on televisions through set-top boxes and allows pay-TV services to be sent to other devices while making sure that content is not hacked by non-paying customers.

As part of the purchase, Cisco will get operations in India, China, Israel, the U.K., and France. About 5,000 NDS employees will join Cisco’s video technology business.

NDS is currently owned by private equity fund Permira and News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA) in a 51-49 divide. Its users include Cablevision Systems Corp (NYSE:CVC), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), and Rogers Communications (NYSE:RCI) in North America, and BSkyB and Sky Italia in Europe.

Cisco had acquired Norwegian conferencing company Tandberg in 2009 for $3.3 billion in what was its biggest buy then.

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