Cisco has announced plans to buy NDS Group, the provider of video software and content security systems, in a $5 billion deal. The acquisition is expected close in the second half of 2012, subject to regulatory review. Accelerating the delivery of its Videoscape platform, the deal will position Cisco as a serious player in the video space, as service providers and media companies move to internet protocols to deliver next generation video experiences.

NDS provides software and security systems for pay-television operators like BSkyB. The company claims that more than 90 of the world’s leading pay-TV platforms rely on NDS solutions to protect and enhance their business, with its middleware deployed on 214 million devices. Its XTV digital video recorder technology, which powers Sky+, has been deployed in 47 million devices worldwide.

Cisco says the acquisition of NDS will complement and accelerate the delivery of its own Videoscape platform. It will also broaden opportunities in the service provider market and extend its reach into emerging markets like China and India.

The acquisition reflects Cisco’s increased strategic focus on video, one of its five foundational priorities, and its investment in software and services revenue streams and competencies.

John Chambers, the chairman and chief executive of Cisco said: “Our strategy has always been driven by customer need and on capturing market transitions. Our acquisition of NDS fits squarely into this strategy, enabling content and service providers to deliver new video solutions that leverage the cloud and drive new monetization opportunities and service differentiation.”

On completion of the transaction, NDS global operations, including sites in the United Kingdom, Israel, France, India and China, and its approximately 5,000 employees, will join the Cisco Service Provider Video Technology Group led by Jesper Andersen.

Dr Abe Peled, the executive chairman of NDS, said its open software platform and services are highly complementary to Cisco technology. “Together we are uniquely positioned to enable service providers to deliver fresh and exciting multi-screen video services to their customers.” He will be named senior vice president and chief strategist for the video and collaboration group within Cisco.

Dave Habiger, the chief executive of NDS described it as “a transformational opportunity for not only NDS and Cisco, but also our service provider customers and their consumers. Together we make the connected vision a reality.”

“Connected Vision” of course being an internationally registered trade mark of informitv.