Ericsson is in talks to acquire Technicolor’s European playout operation, Broadcast understands.

It is believed the deal has been in the pipeline for some time. Talks began around August last year, and Ericsson management visited Technicolor Network Services’ (TNS) Chiswick Park base towards the end of 2011 to step up negotiations.

No deal was forthcoming and Ericsson’s interest appeared to have cooled, but multiple sources have now indicated that negotiations are back on. One suggested a deal could be concluded by the end of the month.

Another senior industry source said: “The playout sector is well aware of Ericsson’s ambitions, and we’d heard strong rumours [about its interest in TNS].

“It would have to acquire a well-known name because it doesn’t have a great deal of experience in the area.”

Ericsson is also thought to have held talks with rival playout facility Red Bee Media last year about a possible acquisition.

TNS provides asset management, transmission preparation, playout, VoD, catch-up TV, subtitling and dubbing, and compliance editing services. It manages 320 broadcast networks around the world, with sites in the UK, France, Holland, the US and Singapore.

TNS’s largest UK client is ITV. Disney recently moved its UK playout and media management operation from TNS and split the work among Encompass, Deluxe and Loft London.

Technicolor and Ericsson declined to comment.