Permira Plans to Float Pay-TV Firm NDS

LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) – Private equity firm Permira is eyeing a listing of pay-television technology firm NDS, a person familiar with the matter said, holding out the possibility of a rare piece of good news for its minority partner News Corp.

Permira, which took NDS private in 2009 in a deal valuing the business at about 2.5 billion euros ($3.5 billion), has hired Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley to advise on the process, the person said.

Permira owns a 51 percent stake in the business.

NDS, which provides encryption technology for Sky set-top boxes and similar services for other providers, was originally listed on Nasdaq and could return to the United States in a new initial public offering (IPO), the source said.

News Corp , the embattled owner of News International which on Wednesday dropped its takeover bid for BSkyB–the satellite broadcaster NDS serves in Britain–holds 49 percent of the business.

Permira’s share sale would give News Corp a chance to also float its stake in the business, opening up the prospect of a financial windfall.

Permira’s deal for NDS came at the height of the credit crisis. The firm agreed the deal before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, but only completed in early 2009.

Despite the timing, the business has continued to grow thanks to its focus on emerging markets, the source said.

Permira has told investors it intends to start raising a new private equity fund in the autumn, which at about 6.5 billion euros could be significantly smaller than its current fund raised in 2006.

Permira declined to comment. News Corp had no immediate comment.

($1 = 0.706 Euros) (By Simon Meads; editing by Douwe Miedema and David Hulmes)