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Cisco buys into Chinese cable market

The purchase of the set-top box division of a Chinese digital cable technology company is the fourth acquisition Cisco has announced in a month.

Networking giant Cisco Systems announced another acquisition this week. This time the company said it will buy the set-top division of a Chinese digital cable technology company.

Late Monday, Cisco said it would pay a total of about $44.5 million for the set-top unit of DVN. It will pay $17.5 million upfront, and the remaining $27 million will be paid over four years, based on the unit achieving sales milestones.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year, and it is subject to the approval of regulators and DVN shareholders.

Cisco is also partnering with the rest of DVN to provide joint customers with expanded services.

The DVN unit being acquired makes products that connect digital signals to televisions. Cisco already makes and sells set-top boxes for customers around the world through its Scientific Atlanta division.

Cisco sees a big opportunity in the Chinese cable market, which it says is the largest in the world with 160 million subscribers and with an additional 200 million subscribers expected to become customers in the next few years.

China is in the process of moving its cable subscribers to digital. The government has mandated that all cable be digital by 2015, Cisco said. Today only about a third of Chinese cable customers are using digital cable.

This is the fourth acquisition that Cisco has announced since the beginning of October. The company has spent about $6.2 billion in total during this shopping spree.