NDS, the digital TV security company controlled by News Corporation, yesterday shrugged off legal action accusing it of stealing trade secrets and announced
an increase in first quarter profits.
It also announced the resignation of non-executive director James Murdoch, who is embroiled in controversy after being appointed chief executive of BSkyB, another company part-owned by News Corp, the global media company controlled by his father, Rupert.
NDS announced a 24% increase in income to £8.3m in its first quarter, although revenues dropped by 17% to £52m, owing to the loss of a contract to make smart cards for DirecTV, the US multichannel TV operator which is being bought by News Corp. Dr Abe Peled, NDS's chief executive, said he hoped to regain this contract if News Corp was successful in its bid for DirecTV.
The company continues to fight lawsuits from Spanish satellite broadcaster Sogecable and US broadcaster Echostar. Echostar alleges that NDS stole trade secrets and was involved in civil conspiracy; the former filed an amended complaint in a California court last month. Dr Peled claimed the action was intended to disrupt News Corp's acquisition of DirecTV.
"It is an excuse to try and muddy the waters of the acquisition by News Corp," he said. NDS is filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in the next couple of weeks.
Similar lawsuits from French broadcaster Canal-plus and DirecTV were dropped this year.
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