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Pirates sink Kudelski stock

Investors have slashed share prices of the Kudelski Group following reports that its television receivers had been hacked.

Trading of stock in the Lausanne-based firm, which supplies set-top boxes and smart cards to broadcasters, was repeatedly halted on Wednesday after German pay-TV provider Premiere said its signals had been pirated.

The incident is not the first time Kudelski’s encryption technology for Premiere has been breached. In 2005 pirated smart cards were being sold on the black market for about €100 (SFr160) each, according to media reports at that time.

This time Premiere was forced to issue new smart cards to subscribers.

Premiere said it was not considering legal action against Kudelski and added that the two firms were in talks regarding compensation. The Swiss company’s financial hit should be minimal.

Kudelski’s finance chief said the costs of modifying its technology would be less than SFr10 million ($9.1 million) and the contract with Premiere was intact.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR