Harris to Buy Aastra Digital Video

Harris Corp. is buying Aastra Digital Video, a business unit of Canadian company Aastra Technologies Ltd., for about $35 million. Harris said the deal broadens its Total Content Delivery solutions.

Tim Thorsteinson, president of Harris Broadcast Communications Division said the acquisition would enable Harris to offer networking products that transport media content over a variety of broadcast, cable, satellite, and telco networks, including those supporting new services such as IPTV and mobile TV. He said there were no overlapping technologies, which was what made the deal a "really attractive opportunity."

Aastra Digital Video's revenue for FY2005 was about $18 million. The company develops and markets video networking, encoding, decoding, and multiplexing technologies used by television broadcasters, telecommunications providers and satellite networks. According to Harris, the heart of Aastra's product portfolio is the VideoRunner multi-service video networking system. Harris has also sold Aastra video networking products for the past eight years, under the Flexicoder and NetVX brand names.

"Harris has had an excellent relationship with Aastra for many years, and we believe this acquisition will broaden our engineering resources to address rapidly emerging markets and new services that require expertise in areas such as the distribution and delivery of MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 program streams," Thorsteinson said.

Aastra Digital Video is based in Bridgewater, N.J., with 35 employees. Thorsteinson said there are no plans to move the company and no layoffs are anticipated. Current Aastra Digital Video General Manager John Mailhot will continue to run the business, but under the Harris name and as a product line of Harris' video infrastructure and networking business. Aastra Customers include Bell Canada, Turner Broadcasting, the National Football League, DIRECTV and the Canadian Television Network.

The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, and the transaction is expected to be accretive to Harris fiscal year 2007.