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NDS Gets Closer to Privacy

11/07/2008 7:00 PM Eastern

Conditional-access software provider and News Corp. property NDS Group is making progress in its plans to go private and its CEO told Reuters last week he hopes to win shareholder approval for the deal by mid-December.

At a meeting in New Delhi, India — where NDS has sales and support offices — CEO Abraham Peled said the company would then go public again in the next three to five years, depending on market conditions.

Peled previously had said the News Corp. relationship imposed “certain limitations” on NDS.

Peled told the wire service he was confident the privatization deal could close as soon as the latter part of January.

News Corp., which owns 72% of NDS’s equity and 96% of its votes through the ownership of all of the software company’s Class-B super-voting shares, forged a deal in August with private-equity firm Permira Advisers to take NDS private. As part of that deal, News Corp. agreed to cancel 67% of NDS Class-B shares in return for $63 per share in cash.

After the dust settles News Corp., which would receive $1.52 billion in cash and a $242 million note from Permira, would own 49% of the company with Permira controlling 51%.

NDS stock was trading at about $48 last week.

NDS develops technology that makes the set-top boxes and digital video recorders more secure and interactive. The U.K-based company’s customers include satellite-TV giants DirecTV Group, British Sky Broadcasting and Sky Italia.

September