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TiVo parent Xperi forks over $109M for Vewd

Xperi Holding, TiVo's parent company, is splashing out $109 million to acquire Vewd, a Norway-based streaming media platform company that claims to ship its software in more than 30 million set-tops, media players and other connected TV devices annually.

Xperi said the deal will accelerate its entry into the connected TV market and will establish "sub-brand" TiVo as a top independent streaming media platform. Xperi, also a major player in the connected car tech sector, merged with TiVo in 2020.

Prior to the Vewd deal, San Jose-based Xperi has expressed plans to launch a TiVo operating system in a connected TV by 2023 or early 2024. 
  (Source: Sundry Photography/Alamy Stock Photo)
Prior to the Vewd deal, San Jose-based Xperi has expressed plans to launch a TiVo operating system in a connected TV by 2023 or early 2024.
(Source: Sundry Photography/Alamy Stock Photo)

The deal comes together soon after Xperi CEO John Kirchner told Light Reading that his company hoped to launch a TiVo operating system in a connected TV by late 2023 or early 2024. While the Vewd deal aims to accelerate that timeframe, Kirchner noted that Xperi had already completed the core engineering and was already starting to provide private demos.

"We're well on our way," he said at the time, noting that the ecosystem being developed will cover TV makers, chip suppliers and content providers. "We're certainly talking to people in literally every region. While we think we'll have a presence in the US market, there's a big world out there."

That world includes a competitive smart TV software/platform market that includes Roku, Amazon, Google and TV makers such as Samsung, LG Electronics and Vizio. Comcast is also in the smart TV game in the US with XClass TV (a position being enhanced by a new joint venture with Charter Communications) and in Europe with Sky's introduction of a family of "Sky Glass"-branded smart TVs.

Vewd's focus spans smart TVs, connected cars and casual games

Vewd, a long-time TiVo video tech partner, has also been busy expanding its market presence, including a greater focus on connected TVs. Last fall, Vewd launched an "Operator TV" program for the European market with Vestel, an original design manufacturer (ODM) and major supplier of TVs in the region. The general idea there is to give operators in Europe a way to integrate their own pay-TV services with over-the-top streaming options onto a unified platform that does not require a set-top box.

Among other recent moves, Vewd launched Vewd for Automotive, a white-labeled content aggregation and monetization platform that's already been integrated with certain car-focused chipsets from Renesas. In May, Vewd partered with AirConsole, a cloud-based video game console developed by Zurich-based startup N-Dream.

Vewd is also supplying its cloud-based platform to Evoca, a startup that is delivering pay-TV services in a handful of US markets using a blend of traditional streaming and access to broadcast signals based on the new IP-based ATSC 3.0 standard.

For Vewd, the deal with Xperi comes together about five months after the US bankruptcy court approved a reorganization plan that eliminated most of the Vewd's debt. Per the plan, Vewd, which blamed the issue on increased competition, the fallout of the pandemic and a shareholder dispute, swapped $118 million in debt as equity to its lenders.

Vewd deal arrives ahead of Xperi split

Xperi said it will add about 275 people from the acquisition of Vewd, a company founded in 2002 that was originally known as Opera TV. The Vewd management team will continue to lead the business and will be integrated into Xperi's management structure, it added. Light Reading has asked what role Aneesh Rajaram, Vewd's CEO, will play in the newly combined company.

Update: Xperi said Rajaram and the Vewd team will report in through Geir Skaaden, Xperi's chief products and services officer.

The companies estimate that more than 450 million connected TV devices have shipped with Vewd's software via a customer roster that includes Amazon, CommScope, Hisense, Nintendo, Sagemcom, Skyworth, Sony, Swisscom, TCL, TPV Phillips and Vestel.

Xperi noted the deal will also give it an installed European footprint of about 15 million devices and pave the way for an expansion of TiVo+, a free, ad-supported video streaming service launched in 2019.

"Xperi's TiVo product offerings, when integrated with Vewd's suite of streaming platform solutions, will help accelerate and scale the deployment of TiVo OS for connected TVs and expand our video-over-broadband offerings,” Kirchner said in a statement.

Xperi expects the deal to deliver incremental revenue of $10 million in the second half of 2023, "followed by substantially higher revenue and a positive EBIDTA contribution in 2023."

Xperi plans to separate its product business and its licensing and intellectual property (IP) business this fall. The IP spin-off, to be called Adeia, will be led Paul Davis, Xperi's current chief legal officer.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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