EC agrees to Cisco’s takeover of London-based NDS Group

Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers speaks in Barcelona earlier this year

The European Commission (EC) announced today it had given the green light to US network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) to take over London-based video software and content security solutions provider NDS Group Ltd.

The regulator said it had determined that there would be minimal overlaps between the companies’ operations related to the provision of hardware and software components on a global basis and even smaller overlaps in the European economic area (EEA).

Although there are certain vertical and conglomerate relations between NDS’ pay-TV software business and Cisco’s set-top-box (STB) operations, the enlarged group will not have market power in these markets, the EC added. For this reason, the commission has concluded that the tie-up will not impede competition in Europe.

The deal was unveiled in mid-May 2012, when Cisco said it will pay about USD5bn (EUR4.1bn) for NDS, including the assumption of debt and retention-based incentives. The value of the acquisition is generally in line with the EBITDA multiples paid when NDS was acquired and delisted in 2009 by buyout firm Permira and media giant News Corp (NASDAQ:NWSA), Cisco added.

The acquisition will help Cisco complement its own Videoscape platform and will result in more opportunities in the service provider market for the buyer.

NDS has a headcount of more than 5,000 employees and locations in the UK, Israel, France, India and China.

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