With Virgin Media , Liberty Global could extend the fabric of its pan-European reach. But there might be a wrinkle for TiVo .
In 2009, Virgin and TiVo announced a partnership to develop a next-generation TV platform. Analysts attribute some of the better performance at Virgin, which reported its first annual net profit in 2011, to the resulting set-top box introduced that year.
If a deal is struck, Virgin's agreement with TiVo would remain in place through the contractat least another four years or so, according to Janney Capital Markets. But Liberty Global rolled out an advanced platform, known as Horizon TV, in September and may aim to replace TiVo's technology with its own.
Using third-quarter subscriber figures, Janney estimates Virgin accounts for about $15 million of TiVo revenue on an annualized basis. That is roughly 5% of TiVo's expected 2013 revenue. But Virgin revenue is highly profitable, making it more important for money-losing TiVo.
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