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Pace plots set-top merger deal

One of the world's biggest set-top box manufacturers has revealed it is working on plans to merge its business with a Google-owned rival.

West Yorkshire-based Pace has submitted a bid for Motorola Home, the internet giant's set-top box division.

Shares in Pace, which supplies boxes to BT, BSkyB and Virgin Media, were suspended as the deal would be classed a reverse takeover because of the size of Pace relative to the business it is eyeing.

It is understood Pace is in competition with US technology businesses Technicolor and Arris, and a handful of private equity firms, which have also submitted bids.

Motorola's cable box business was acquired by Google as part of a 12.5 billion US dollar (7.8 billion) deal announced last year.

Google launched its interactive TV service for British consumers in July in a tie-up with electronics giant Sony, a move which saw its interactive TV service made available outside the US for the first time.

Pace's move on Motorola Home comes after a difficult year in which two of its key suppliers suffered disruption due to floods in Thailand.

In July Pace reported first-half revenues of one billion US dollars (644 million), compared with 1.2 billion US dollars (775 million) in the same period last year.

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