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TiVo to Buy Content-Recommendations Firm Digitalsmiths for $135 Million

TiVo plans to acquire Digitalsmiths, a provider of TV and movie content discovery and recommendation services, for $135 million in cash.

Digitalsmiths offers personalized video search, recommendations and browsing, social trending, and mood-based discovery across multiple devices. The firm works with 46 U.S. and international service providers, including seven of the top 10 pay-TV operators in the United States, as well as content providers and consumer-electronics companies.

“The Digitalsmiths acquisition opens new opportunities to commercialize and deploy TiVo’s cloud-based services and technologies to operators, in an extremely cost-effective way that can be offered either independently or in conjunction with TiVo’s renowned user interface,” TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said in announcing the deal.

Digitalsmiths customers include Time Warner Cable, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Technicolor, Univision Communications, Turner Sports, the NBA, the PGA, NASCAR, Zeebox and i.TV. The Durham, N.C.-based company has 49 full-time employees, most of whom — including CEO and co-founder Ben Weinberger — will be joining TiVo, according to a TiVo rep.

Privately held Digitalsmiths does not disclose financial results, but has “experienced rapid growth in both its user base and revenue” in 2013, according to TiVo. Digitalsmiths has raised about $30 million from investors including .406 Ventures, Aurora Funds, Chrysalis Ventures, Cisco Systems and Technicolor.

TiVo said it expects Digitalsmiths’ services to make a material contribution to its overall adjusted EBITDA in fiscal year 2016 (ending in January of that year). In addition, TiVo will have access to more than $20 million of Digitalsmiths’ net operating losses (NOLs) as well as the company’s intellectual property.

Separately, TiVo also announced it increased its stock-repurchase authorization by $100 million, with plans to repurchase $100 million in shares during its fiscal first quarter 2015 (which ends April 30, 2014).

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