TiVo: $627m warchest

tivoTiVo, as well as increasing subscribers, is accumulating cash largely from a very successful series of patent disputes.  CEO Tom Rogers says that the company continues evaluating certain potential acquisitions.

Rogers, speaking at Deutsche Bank’s media and telecom conference in New York on March 4th, said that TiVo’s cash balance at the end of its latest quarter-year was some $627 million, and that shareholders had also authorised a $100 million share buy-back which was still intact.

“I have to say that we continue to evaluate acquisitions because with the cash we have. It’s hard for investment banks not to come to us with any thought they have and shop every opportunity they have. And we do look at [the opportunities] and we do assess them because it keeps us highly attuned to smaller companies’ innovations.”

Rogers said that apart from two modest acquisitions it had yet to find anything of interest.  “We have a pretty high standard in terms of conservative use of our cash in that direction. Nonetheless, I think it’s an important exercise and we’re just continuing to go down the other path, which is putting in place the right mechanisms to make sure we can drive shareholder value with repurchases, so a combination of those things I think defines our current state of mind.”

He also told delegates that TiVo’s R&D division was actively looking at how legacy set-top boxes, that were not TiVo boxes, could be updated/software upgraded in order to give some advanced functionality. “We are working on some solutions to legacy [boxes].  The original work we did with Comcast was all about how we port a software solution to truly old legacy boxes and get them to function in a different way, and we proved we could do that, so we’re not a stranger to that part of the equation. It really goes to the heart of the bigger issue, which is that a lot of operators are focused on that because they know they want to get to an advanced television footprint that covers all their boxes over time. And they’d prefer for that next major investment that they make be in the IPTV realm, where they can have a cloud-based solution where you aren’t having to think about a major rollout of CapEx in the home as part of solving that equation.”

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