TiVo: Up for grabs?
July 1, 2011
By Chris Forrester
There’s increased speculation on Wall Street that DVR specialist TiVo is a ripe take-over target. A cluster of analysts have identified some well-know names as being potential buyers, not least Microsoft and Google. The logic, they say, is that with TiVo’s extremely long-running legal squabble now done and dusted – and the probability of similar settlements coming from actions with AT&T and Verizon – the road map for TiVo’s future sees the company sitting pretty for a significant return to its very patient investors.
Other potential players include Rovi (better known for its Macrovision product) but which also specialises in TV listings data and audience measurement services.
TiVo has around $180 million excess in cash over debt obligations helped by EchoStar’s $500m settlement, and a market value of about $1.24 billion, says Bloomberg. However, the analysts are talking up that value to $2 billion – and beyond giving the potential for long-term licensing agreements of TiVo’s ‘Time Warp’ patents.
However, patents do not last forever and it seems the same maxim applies to TiVo subscribers. TiVo enjyed 4.4 million subscribers back in 2007, which has since dwindled to 1.96 million as at April this year. It has also lost money in 10 out of the past 11 trading years.