July 23, 2015 / 7:00 AM / 4 years ago

France's Technicolor to buy Cisco's set-top box business

PARIS (Reuters) - French media and entertainment technology group Technicolor will buy Cisco System’s home video equipment business for 550 million euros ($602 million), it said on Thursday, sending its shares to a five-year high.

The Cisco Systems logo is seen as part of a display at the Microsoft Ignite technology conference in Chicago, Illinois, May 4, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young

The cash-and-stock deal is part of Technicolor’s efforts to expand in the thriving home video market and boost profitability.

It will create the world No. 2 in customer premises equipment (CPE) - phone gear, cable and satellite TV set-top boxes, routers and switches - with total sales of 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) and a 15 percent market share.

That compares with 25 percent that will be held by U.S. network gear maker Arris Group and British set-box maker Pace when they complete a merger.

“Video is what is driving traffic today,” Technicolor CEO Frederic Rose told a conference call. “All this is fueling a massive demand for customer premises television equipment.”

By 1014 GMT Technicolor shares were up 19 percent, trading near 7.5 euros, their highest level in five years.

“This deal makes sense as Technicolor needed to increase its size especially after the ongoing Pace/Arris deal,” said one Paris-based trader. He said Technicolor was buying Cisco’s business for four times its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

Rose acknowledged that talks between Technicolor and Cisco accelerated after the Arris-Pace deal was announced in April.

The transaction will also boost Technicolor’s footprint in North America, the biggest CPE market in the world. The combined company will make 57 percent of its sales in North America.

It will double annual revenue at its Connected Home division, give it 290 million set-top boxes installed in over 100 countries, and generate annual savings of over 100 million euros from 2018, the company said.

Rose said he did not expect any large-scale restructuring as the two companies had complementary products.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter of 2015 or in the first quarter of 2016.

After completion, Technicolor said its Connected Home division should reach adjusted EBITDA in excess of 200 million euros by the end of 2016, and an adjusted EBITDA margin of 8-9 percent by 2017.

The deal will also boost earnings per share by a double-digit percentage at a group level as of 2016, Technicolor said.

Under the terms of the deal, Cisco will receive about 413 million euros in cash and about 137 million euros in newly issued Technicolor shares, subject to certain adjustments provided for in the agreement.

The 413 million euro cash portion will be financed through cash on hand and fully underwritten new debt.

($1 = 0.9142 euros)

($1 = 0.9099 euros)

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Pravin Char and Susan Thomas

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