Microsoft, Time Warner complete ContentGuard buy

Microsoft, Time Warner, and Thomson have bought DRM company ContentGuard after receiving approval for the deal from the European Commission.

The European Commission has given Microsoft, Time Warner and Thomson SA the green light to close their joint acquisition of digital rights management (DRM) company ContentGuard, the companies said Tuesday.

Microsoft and Time Warner attempted to buy ContentGuard last year but the proposal was met with concern by the Commission, which said it feared that the software and media giants would use their combined strengths to gain control of the DRM market. The companies then dropped the proposal and brought in French electronics maker Thomson as a partner in the acquisition bid.

The triumvirate has now successfully completed the ContentGuard buy. Each will hold equal voting positions in the company, as well as appoint two board members, they said.

Executives for Microsoft and Time Warner said in statements that they had worked closely with the Commission to reach a resolution and were pleased with the outcome.

All three purchasing companies said they plan to use ContentGuard's DRM technologies to help protect movies, music and other digital content from being illegally copied or accessed by unauthorized users.

The companies plan to keep ContentGuard's headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, and current staff in place, according to a Thomson representative.

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Scarlet Pruitt

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