UPDATE 3-EchoStar, Dish to pay TiVo to settle dispute

Mon May 2, 2011 9:50am EDT

* Dish to make initial $300 mln payment to TiVo

* Dish to pay additional $200 mln over six installments

* TiVo will promote Dish's Blockbuster video services

* TiVo shares rise 7 pct, Dish soars 17 pct (Adds executive comments, background on TiVo, Dish's results)

By Liana B. Baker

NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) - Dish Network (DISH.O) and EchoStar Corp (SATS.O) will pay TiVo Inc (TIVO.O) $500 million to settle a patent infringement lawsuit involving TiVo's video recording technology, putting an end to a long and costly legal battle.

TiVo's shares rose 7 percent and Dish shares soared 17 percent in early trading on Monday following the announcement.

Dish and EchoStar, both controlled by Charlie Ergen, will make an initial payment of $300 million to TiVo, with the remaining $200 million to be paid in six equal annual installments between 2012 and 2017, the companies said.

TiVo will license its technology to Dish and EchoStar, while EchoStar would license to TiVo certain DVR-related patents.

TiVo said on Monday it will help Dish promote the Blockbuster digital video service. TiVo already offers Netflix and other services on its DVR. Dish paid $320 million for Blockbuster in a bankruptcy auction in April.[ID:nL3E7F6164]

Revenue from the $500 million dollar payout "changes TiVo's earnings profile very substantially," Chief Executive Tom Rogers said in an interview. TiVo had previously been awarded $100 million in an earlier payment, bringing the total payout from the lawsuit to $600 million, TiVo said.

TiVo's annual revenue for the calendar year that ended Jan. 31, 2011, was about $168 million.

Rogers said Monday's agreement sets up the company well to succeed in pending patent infringement lawsuits with AT&T, Verizon and Microsoft.

"Everybody knows Charlie Ergen is about the toughest litigant around and the fact that he came to a half a billion (dollars) settlement should send signals to the rest of the industry," Rogers said.

Monday's settlement benefits all parties, said Kaufman Bros analyst Todd Mitchell.

"It's positive for Dish in the sense that they're done with this case and it's positive for TiVo because it will receive a lump sum of cash, which it needs to finance their business," Mitchell said.

Mitchell added that the payout would have "no significant impact" on Dish's cash balance. He said the amount was within his expectations, but acknowledged it was lower than what most Wall Street analysts expected TiVo to receive.

Some analysts had projected Dish's costs to be as high $3 billion and were expecting TiVo to strike potentially rich ongoing licensing agreements. [ID:nN20162750]

The legal battle dates back to 2004, when TiVo accused satellite TV provider EchoStar's Dish Network of violating TiVo's patent for Time Warp software that allows users to record one TV program while watching another.

Last month, a federal appeals court upheld a ruling in favor of TiVo stating that EchoStar infringed TiVo's patents.

The news came as Dish on Monday said it doubled its quarterly profit due to strong subscriber numbers. The second-largest U.S. satellite TV provider posted a net income of $549 million, or $1.22 per share, compared with $231 million, or 52 cents a year earlier. Its revenue increased 5.5 percent to $3.22 billion.

TiVo shares were up 70 cents, or 7.4 percent, at $10.27 in early trading and Dish shares soared 17 percent, or $4.38, to $29.43. (Additional reporting Himank Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Derek Caney and Maureen Bavdek)

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