Rovi to Close on TiVo September 7
After winning regulatory approval in July, Rovi now expects to close on its $1.1 billion acquisition of TiVo just after Labor Day on September 7, pending shareholder approval. The new company will take the TiVo name.
Rovi Corp. disclosed the expected closing date in a press release also announcing that the company has signed a ten-year patent licensing agreement with Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH). The Dish deal, which includes Rovi's natural language platform among other technologies, brings Rovi's licensing count to nine of the top ten pay-TV operators in the US. Only Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is missing from that list. Rovi is currently suing the nation's largest cable operator (and second-largest pay-TV provider) for patent infringement. Rovi is citing intellectual property rights over features like how Comcast handles remote program recording and the search function on the X1 platform. (See Rovi Sues Comcast for Patent Infringement.)
One of the knocks against Rovi for years has been its litigious nature, and that fact may make some operators wary of Rovi's TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) acquisition. Many smaller operators in particular have come to rely on TiVo for set-tops and software that improve the user experience and integrate over-the-top video services. There's hope that these TiVo partnerships will continue to run smoothly once the company is acquired, but there was also some concern expressed at the Independent Show hosted by the National Cable Television Cooperative Inc. (NCTC) and American Cable Association (ACA) in July about how Rovi will operate the business.
Once the acquisition deal is closed, Rovi has already said it will locate its headquarters in Silicon Valley. With a planned consolidation of offices, that moves Rovi physically away from Comcast where currently the two companies have nearby offices in the metro Philadelphia region.
There are also other changes afoot. Rovi has acknowledged overlap in General and Administrative (G&A) expenses between it and TiVo, suggesting that job cuts are likely.
As for the integration of other departments, Rovi may stand the most to gain in its merger of analytics capabilities with TiVo. Together, the two companies will have significant scale for offering data services to the television industry.
On the retail front, it's still unclear how Rovi will proceed with TiVo's product line-up, which in recent years has suffered in part thanks to a proliferation of lower-cost streaming media boxes. However, Rovi COO John Burke maintains that the retail sales channel "will be a very important part of the business going forward." (See What's Next for Rovi & TiVo? and Rovi Reports Mixed Q2 Ahead of TiVo Buy.)
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading