Rovi Inks Apple Licensing Deal

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Rovi, a developer of interactive program guides for TVs and set-tops, on Monday announced a multiyear patent-licensing agreement with Apple, sending Rovi shares up more than 5% in morning trading.

Terms of the agreement are confidential. Rovi disclosed the deal in an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and declined to provide additional information.

Apple is gearing up to ship Apple TV, a device that will let users rent TV shows and movies and play back content purchased through iTunes, starting later this month for a list price of $99.

Rovi claims to have an intellectual-property portfolio comprising more than 4,600 issued or pending patents and patent applications worldwide. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company, formerly called Macrovision Solutions, primarily sells content security, metadata products and interactive program guides to operators and consumer-electronics companies. Rovi closed its $2.8 billion acquisition of Gemstar-TV Guide International in May 2008.

Rovi's stock shot up to $47.19 per share on Monday, up 10.9% from the previous closing price, before settling back to about $44.88 (up 5.5% versus Friday) as of mid-morning.

Separately, in February 2010, the company sold its 49% interest in the GuideWorks joint venture with Comcast back to the MSO, and simultaneously purchased Comcast's interest in the patents that had been developed by GuideWorks.The venture developed interactive program guide solutions distributed by Rovi under the i-Guide brand. Under those agreements, Rovi received a net payment of $4.6 million and realized a $1.0 million loss on sale of its interest in GuideWorks, according to regulatory filings.

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