Technology

Microsoft Outbid Canoe Operators For Navic: Source

6/18/2008 12:25 PM Eastern

The six biggest cable operators that formed Canoe Ventures LLC were bidding for interactive TV vendor Navic Networks before Microsoft won the deal for about $230 million, according to an industry executive.

The Canoe MSOs—Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks—were interested in Navic because that was the “closest to what they wanted on the ad-tracking side,” the executive said.

Microsoft and Navic declined to comment. In announcing the acquisition Wednesday, Microsoft did not disclose financial terms.

Vicki Lins, Comcast Spotlight's senior vice president of marketing and communications who is handling communications for Canoe, would not confirm that the MSO venture was bidding for Navic.

“We’re always evaluating technology, vendors and opportunities,” she said. “At this point, we have not made any definitive decisions.”

In an interview Tuesday, Scott Ferris, general manager of Microsoft’s Advertiser and Publisher Solutions group, said: “We hope to serve all of [Canoe’s] needs, or some of their needs, and persuade them we’re the best partner to work with.”

Navic’s technology is used on more than 35 million digital set-top boxes in North America. Its customers include Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable and Charter.

For example, in the Los Angeles area both Time Warner Cable and Charter have widely deployed the Navic system.

“L.A. is kind of a microcosm of what they want Canoe to be,” the industry executive said.

Navic, founded in 2000, will operate as a Microsoft subsidiary in the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions group and remain based in Waltham, Mass.

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