Kudelski Group Makes Second Bid for OpenTV

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND: The Kudelski Group has made a second bid for OpenTV, a San Francisco company specializing in set-top box software that enables interactive TV. Kudelski, which owns majority voting rights of the company, is going after all Class A shares of OpenTV (NASDAQ: OPTV). Shares of OPTV shot up 15 percent as a result of the bid, from $1.34 Friday to more than $1.50 today.

Kudelski makes several DTV technologies, including the Nagravision line content security products. The company made an all-cash tender offer to OPTV shareholders of $1.55 a share for the 108 million shares it doesn’t currently hold. The offer represents a 17 percent premium to the closing price of OPTV A shares as of June 4, when Kudelski withdrew a previous proposal to acquire them at $1.35 a share. The new offer places the value of the company at $214 million and expires Nov. 6 unless extended.

OpenTV says it has software in 133 million set-top boxes worldwide. The company in May struck a deal with Time Warner Cable to manage that company’s U.S. ad sales via its EclipsePlus software.

Kudelski says OpenTV would be better off as a fully owned division “given OpenTV’s current scale and R&D challenges and the significant amount of new investment required for OpenTV to remain competitive as a standalone, publicly-traded company.”

OpenTV is a member of the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV coalition, a group developing a specification for single-device, multiplatform content delivery for the European market. Sony, Philips, French broadcaster TF1, the folks that make the Opera browser, German and French public broadcasters and set-top maker Humax are among the companies supporting HbbTV. A bit from the group’s boilerplate:

“HbbTV products and services will provide... a seamless entertainment experience with the combined richness of broadcast and broadband... delivered with the simplicity of one remote control, on one screen and with the ease of use of television that we are used to. Through the adoption of HbbTV, consumers will be able to access new services from entertainment providers such as broadcasters, online providers and CE manufactures--including catch-up TV, video-on-demand, interactive advertising, personalization, voting, games and social networking as well as program-related services such as digital text and EPGs.”