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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 February, 2005, 10:59 GMT
Takeover talk boosts TiVo shares
Family watching TiVo television
TiVo is facing competition from cable operators
Shares in TiVo, the digital video recorder pioneer, have risen sharply on speculation that it could be bought by Apple Computer.

TiVo shares shot up 17% on Wednesday after financial analysts said the US firm could be a takeover target.

Apple, Time Warner, Comcast, Sony and Liberty Media have all been suggested as potential buyers.

TiVo has become a household name in the digital video market but is facing competition from cheaper rivals.

Attractive target

Analysts said TiVo's relatively small stock market capitalisation - its shares are valued at $300m (157m; 226m euros) - meant it was an attractive target for larger media and technology firms.

"What we hear on the street is that Apple is interested in their business and that they are a takeout target," Steven Kroll, from Monness, Crespi and Hardt, told Reuters.

What we hear on the street is that they [TiVo] are a takeout target
Steven Kroll, Monness, Crespi & Hardt

Neither TiVo nor Apple were prepared to comment on the speculation.

TiVo's technology allows viewers to record 14 hours of programming at any one time - skipping advertising breaks - and to pause and rewind live footage.

People who buy the box can take a monthly or lifetime subscription to get additional services.

It said that its subscriber numbers rose above three million in January after it reduced the average price of its video recorders to $100.

TiVo revealed last month it would recruit a new chief executive to allow current boss and co-founder Michael Ramsay concentrate on strategy development.

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