Pace Picks Up for M&A With Aurora Buy

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ATLANTA — Pace picked the cable industry’s major tech confab to announce a $310 million acquisition of Aurora Networks, a move that will not only help the U.K.-based set-top maker to diversify its business, but also enable it to penetrate network-facing markets that are dominated by larger rivals like Arris Group and Cisco Systems.

Aurora will give Pace a portfolio of cable-network access gear, including amplifiers, nodes and an RF-over- Glass (RFoG) platform that allows cable operators to deliver voice, data and TV services over fiber while preserving their head-ends, operational support and provisioning systems. When the deal is closed, Aurora Networks will retain its brand and its existing senior management team, and will operate as a strategic business unit of Pace.

This could be the start of an M&A binge for Pace.

“If we see [an M&A target] we like and it meets our financial criteria, we will go out and do it,” Pace CEO Mike Pulli said in an interview here.

Pulli didn’t identify any specific targets, but said Pace will look to expand its software and services business.

Multiple industry sources have linked Pace and TiVo to merger talks, though it is not clear who would be the buyer and seller or if any such deal is imminent. While TiVo, which has $1 billion in cash, is a maker of DVR hardware, it has also developed the kind of video-software assets that could be appealing to Pace. And the two companies are not strangers — Pace has ported Ti- Vo’s user interface and software platform to the XG1, a hybrid QAM/IP video gateway.

Pace’s renewed path of attack comes almost a year after the company dropped out of the bidding for Motorola Home, which was sold to Arris in April for $2.35 billion.

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