& cplSiteName &

Could Comcast Nix a SeaChange Sale?

Jeff Baumgartner
5/27/2011

12:05 PM -- As Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) tries to buy SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC), it turns out Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) could influence whether the deal can even go down. (See Arris Sets Sights on SeaChange .)

As part of their 2006 agreement, Comcast gets a "right of first offer" to buy SeaChange's VoD business, should SeaChange decide to sell that business or its assets. And, if SeaChange gets bought outright, the new owner (Arris, in this possible case) would be required to give Comcast a perpetual license to the VoD software.

Back then, this kind of contingency language was not considered a path of future action; it was protection Comcast wanted in there just in case someone like Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), one of SeaChange's other big customers, tried to buy SeaChange and upset the balance of technology power.

I've asked SeaChange and Comcast if that clause is still active … the deal is four years old, after all.

I seriously doubt that Comcast would object to Arris buying SeaChange, since it does lots of business with Arris already, but the contingency language is in there, so I'm drawing some attention to it.

Buying vendors to gain control of the fate of its products isn't exactly foreign to Comcast, either. It now owns the bulk of what used to be called Liberate Technologies, a set-top software and ITV apps company, and has folded it into the wholly owned TVWorks LLC unit. SeaChange, by the way, bought Liberate's international assets in 2005. (See SeaChange Buys Liberate European Unit and Cox Severs Ties to TVWorks.)

Some other companies Comcast bought to shore up its in-house portfolio of strategic technology assets: thePlatform Inc. and Plaxo. [Ed note: Can you think of any others?]

Arris motivation
Separately, Yoav Schreiber of Current Analysis notes on Twitter that Arris could also be coveting SeaChange's penetration of the telco and wireless markets.

An important point, because Arris's historic Achilles heel has been its reliance on cable business -- particularly from Comcast and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). If either of those two catches a cold, Arris tends to get pneumonia. It's happened several times, and its stock has taken big hits as a result.

SeaChange would give Arris a bit more customer diversity thanks to its deals with Verizon and Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), to name just two of the bigger ones.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Related Stories
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner
12/5/2012 | 5:04:00 PM
re: Could Comcast Nix a SeaChange Sale?


Forgot about this one... TVWorks (now wholly owned by Comcast, but formally a JV with Cox) bought MetaTV, another ITV company, back in 2005. JB

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner
12/5/2012 | 5:03:55 PM
re: Could Comcast Nix a SeaChange Sale?


Comcast and SeaChange reupped their software subscription deal  in 2009, but SEAC isn't disclosing or commenting on what kind of contingency language is baked into that deal. JB


 







 

More Blogs from The Bauminator
Quibi's stated purpose – filling in short gaps in the day – means the new phone-focused short video service won't necessarily compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu and other OTTs, analyst says.
Jeff Baumgartner checks in with Danielle Cassagnol of the Consumer Technology Association to discuss common threads at #CES2020, what new technologies and products are moving the sales needle and what to expect from the massive annual tech-fest next year.
Comcast-owned programmer also mulling $4.99 price on ad-supported version of subscription SVoD service slated to debut in April 2020.
Google is going 'All in on a Gig' and exclusively selling uncapped, symmetrical 1Gbit/s service starting at $70 a month, the same price as it's been since 2012.
Light Reading's Jeff Baumgartner and Alan Breznick discuss the key themes from Cable Congress and Cable Next-Gen Europe in Berlin, finding there's a renewed focus on 1-Gig speeds and the fixed mobile network.
Featured Video
Upcoming Live Events
March 16-18, 2020, Embassy Suites, Denver, Colorado
April 20, 2020, Las Vegas Convention Center
May 18-20, 2020, Irving Convention Center, Dallas, TX
May 18, 2020, Hackberry Creek Country Club, Irving, Texas
September 15-16, 2020, The Westin Westminster, Denver
All Upcoming Live Events
Upcoming Webinars
Webinar Archive
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
Challenges & Key Issues of Constructing 'MEC-Ready' 5G Bearer Networks for Carriers
By Dr. Song Jun, Senior Solution Architect, Huawei Datacom Product Line
Good Measures for 5G Service Assurance
By Tomer Ilan, Senior Director of Product Management, RADCOM
Automation Scores Against Operational Costs – The Business Benefits of Automation and Orchestration
By John Malzahn, Senior Manager, Service Provider Product Marketing, Cisco Systems
All Partner Perspectives