Cisco Wins EU Approval to Buy Digital-Video Company NDS Group

Cisco Systems Inc., the largest maker of equipment for computer networks, won European Union approval to buy digital-video company NDS Group Ltd. in a deal valued at about $5 billion.

The European Commission said it didn’t see competition concerns and its investigation showed the combined company wouldn’t have the ability or incentive to raise costs for television set-top boxes or pay-TV services, according to an e-mailed statement today.

Cisco, based in San Jose, California, is buying NDS to add software used in next-generation video services in its biggest acquisition since it bought Scientific-Atlantic Inc. in 2006, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. NDS, which makes software for pay-TV channels used by British Sky Broadcasting Corp. and DirecTV, was previously co-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and London private-equity firm Permira Advisers LLP.

As part of the purchase, Cisco will get operations in India, China, Israel, the U.K. and France as well as about 5,000 NDS employees, who will join Cisco’s video technology business for service providers. NDS’s products are used to send interactive content to TV set-top boxes, digital video recorders and mobile phones.

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