Ericsson acquires Red Bee Media, enhances broadcast TV capabilities

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Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC) is adding another piece to its growing IPTV services portfolio by reaching an agreement to acquire UK-based media services company Red Bee Media. Financial details of the acquisition were not revealed.

Over the past year, Ericsson has been expanding its media services and IPTV capabilities, an effort that it began in 2007.

Last March, Ericsson spent $25 million to acquire the Broadcast Services Division of Technicolor, giving it several big European broadcaster customers such as TV4, and about 900 employees. Then, this April it reached a deal to acquire Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Mediaroom IPTV business.

By purchasing Red Bee, the Swedish vendor will gain a set media service capabilities, including media asset management to playout and digital video publishing, metadata services, multilingual access services and creative services, which are currently supplied to large European-based broadcasters BBC, Canal+, Chellomedia and Channel 4. In addition, Red Bee Media delivers editorial metadata services for more than 100,000 hours of subtitling per year for Europe's largest broadcasters.

Red Bee was spun out of the BBC in 2005 and was later purchased by private equity firm Macquarie Advanced Investment Partners.

The vendor will also gain 1,500 employees and media services and operations facilities in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Australia. With 1,240 of Red Bee Media employees based in the UK, Ericsson's UK business would grow to around 4,000 employees, establishing the country as a global media hub with about 4,000 employees in that market.     

"Ericsson is making a step change to our business, cementing our commitment to TV and broadcast services and continuing a journey we started in 2007," said Magnus Mandersson, EVP and head of Business Unit Global Services for Ericsson, in a release. "We can create value for broadcasters by making digital content more accessible, enabling monetization of TV content more efficiently."

When the acquisition is complete after it gets regulatory approvals and other conditions, Red Bee Media will become part of Ericsson's Business Unit Global Services.

For more:
- see the release

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