Tandberg Television, best known as a provider of video encoding systems, is to acquire GoldPocket Interactive Inc, a leading interactive television company based in Los Angeles, for $78.5 million in cash and shares.

The agreement to acquire GoldPocket for a cash consideration of $56.7 million, with the remainder in Tandberg Television shares, is subject to standard closing conditions and is expected to complete in December. Tandberg will also assume a 49% interest in GoldPocket Wireless and a 43% stake in Mixed Signals.

Earlier this year Tandberg Television completed the acquisition of Atlanta based video-on-demand systems company N2 Broadband in a deal worth $118 million.

With the acquisition of GoldPocket, Tandberg further strengthens its base in North America and aims to provide a range of digital television solutions from high-definition encoding, video-on-demand, internet protocol television or IPTV, and interactive TV applications.

“The addition of GoldPocket’s interactive technology and tools will bring us into the content core where we can assist our customers in deploying interactive applications that have a direct impact on their revenues and consumer appeal,” said Eric Cooney, president and chief executive of Tandberg Television.

Tandberg says it has an open systems strategy on which it is building a comprehensive platform for interactive, on-demand digital television delivery based on a non-proprietary environment.

“We see an increasing opportunity for Tandberg Television to meet the growing demands from content owners and operators for technology neutrality – a ‘Technology Switzerland’ for the digital entertainment world,” said the company president in a statement.

“Broadcasters and operators around the world are looking for reliable solutions to help them make the most of these new interactive opportunities and I believe that Tandberg Television has the credibility, the track record in digital television and the open technology to enable it to be the partner of choice on this next stage of the digital entertainment journey,” said Scott Newnam, president of GoldPocket.

GoldPocket employs 85 staff in Los Angeles. In the first 9 months of the year the company received revenues of $7.9 million in software sales and consultancy. Last year the company made a net loss of $2.7 million. Over the last five years the company has raised over $50 million in venture capital funding.

Tandberg Television is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in Norway but has its headquarters at Southampton in England. Its video compression systems business can be traced back to the broadcast engineering division of the former Independent Broadcasting Authority in the UK.