Following the news of Belden’s intention to divest Grass Valley from its core business, the company insists it’s business as usual for customers and staff as the search for a new investor continues.
Neil Maycock, Grass Valley’s SVP of strategic marketing and playout, tells TVBEurope the company’s leadership team have already begun meeting with potential new investors and they’ve had a very positive reaction so far: “From the talks we’ve already had, they’ve got particularly excited about a combination of things,” he explains.
“First of all, it’s a healthy business. They’re not buying a distressed business that they need to sort out. Obviously, we’ve got an enviable customer base, one of the strongest in the world. They’ve also had sight of the technology roadmap and some of the introductions that are coming out in 2020. That’s where there’s been particular excitement in terms of our next generation technologies that we’re going to be launching next year. When you put all that together, it’s a pretty compelling package for for an investor.”
Rumours of a possible sale have been circling the industry for a few months. According to Maycock, now is a good time for Grass Valley to be looking for new management. While Grass Valley has been profitable during the Belden ownership, and seen positives in terms of business discipline, Maycock admits there has been a level of business management that has proven to be constraining at times, “being a part of a large American corporation, we had to deal with things like the quarterly reporting to the stock market.
“I think being free of some of those constraints will be great for Grass Valley. We are transitioning as a business, we are growing, and we’ve got a lot of new technology introductions. So to have the freedom and agility to move and grow the business without those sort of public company constraints will be very useful, I think,” he adds.
“The business discipline of Belden was great in many regards but it wasn’t that great when you were trying to be really innovative. I don’t want to be negative about Belden, it’s an impressive machine and we benefited from being part of that. But as I look forward, I think some of the things we want to do in the creative approaches to the market, having a greater level of autonomy and freedom to do it, the way that Grass Valley needs to do it, will be really beneficial for us and our customers.”
In terms of customers, Maycock insists they will see no adverse impact as Grass Valley looks for new investors. “At the moment there is no change, it’s just an announcement of intent, although it could transact fairly quickly. Grass Valley trades and supports all its customers as Grass Valley, there’s not a Belden dependency, so we’re not anticipating that there will be any disruption at all and it will be business as usual for our customers. Grass Valley will start moving forward with a velocity that is only going to benefit our customers.”
“There’s no cost cutting or restructuring anticipated as part of this,” says Maycock when asked about any possible impact on staff. “It’s the same leadership team under Tim Shoulders taking the business forward.”
As to the future, Maycock explains that discussions have already taken place with potential new investors. As part of its announcement, Belden said it expects to close any transaction within this financial year, meaning it could happen within this quarter, or in the next eight weeks. “We’ve found these potential new investors have really bought into the vision of where we are taking the business and are going to be very supportive in that direction.
“I think everything we’ve communicated to the market is going to remain true, that we’ve got owners that are going to actually support and drive us in the strategic direction we want to go.”