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Comcast and Cox to Buy Liberate Business

January 11, 2005|From Bloomberg News

Comcast Corp., the world's largest cable television operator, and Cox Communications Inc. on Monday agreed to buy Liberate Technologies Inc.'s North American business for about $82 million to add software for digital cable systems.

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, is majority owner of the joint venture -- called Double C Technologies -- that is buying the assets, according to Liberate, which is based in San Mateo, Calif. Cox, the nation's third-largest cable television operator, holds a minority stake.

The joint venture will offer jobs to about 130 of Liberate's employees, mostly in Canada. Liberate, which makes software for television set-top boxes, will retain its European business.

The deal "enables us to continue to work with Liberate on our interactive-television project," said David Grabert, a spokesman at Cox. Tim Fitzpatrick, a spokesman at Comcast, confirmed the acquisition.

The sale of Liberate's North American operations won't be complete until the company drops its pursuit of a bankruptcy case. In September, Liberate's bankruptcy petition was dismissed after the court said the company had enough cash to cover liabilities. Liberate said it planned to file a motion in the U.S. District Court for Northern California to drop its appeal of that decision.

Shares of Liberate rose 20 cents, or 9.1%, to $2.40 in over-the-counter trading. Comcast shares rose 66 cents to $33.23 on Nasdaq.

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