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Merger round-up

It’s been a busy spring for mergers and restructures within the industry, much of it driven by the venture capitalists behind the scenes.

It’s been a busy spring for mergers and restructures within the industry, much of it driven by the venture capitalists behind the scenes.

Calrec Audio, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, was acquired by private equity fund Electra Partners, making it a sister company to Allen & Heath, which Electra also acquired last year.

“We are delighted to have funded the acquisition of Calrec,” said Charles Elkington, investment partner of Electra Partners. “Part of our investment strategy in the professional audio sector is to acquire additional businesses to create a group of market-leading professional audio brands. We look forward to working with Roger Henderson and his team to continue to invest in developing new products for Calrec’s customers.”

“We are excited to be working with Electra Partners as we continue to develop our business into more international markets,” said Calrec Managing Director Roger Henderson. “Calrec has experienced rapid growth over the past few years. We have a very healthy product portfolio, and we look forward to working alongside Electra Partners as we continue to break new technological boundaries.”

Vislink plc meanwhile completed the acquisition of automation specialist Pebble Beach Systems for a total consideration of £14.9 million.

“The acquisition of Pebble Beach Systems will move Vislink into the provision of software solutions for playout with advanced software technology,” said a statement. “The Company’s existing capabilities of offering broadcasters wireless communication systems for the capture of live TV coverage of news, entertainment and sports events will now be complemented with world class television automation and media management services for broadcast studios. Vislink will now be able to offer broadcasters a complete ‘scene to screen’ solution. Furthermore Pebble Beach Systems will gain from access to significantly increased sales channels through the global network of over 900 broadcasters that Vislink works with as well as its international network of offices.”

Commenting on the acquisition, John Hawkins, Vislink’s Executive Chairman, added: “Pebble Beach Systems is a perfect fit given our focus on product leadership and it will enable us to offer our global broadcasting clients a complete scene-to-screen solution. Additionally, the acquisition fits perfectly into our long term strategy of acquiring software and services capability that we hope to drive recurring revenues for the Group.”

Of course, probably the biggest surprise sprung in the run up to NAB was that Quantel acquired Snell, though as both are owned by the same VCs – Lloyds Development Capital – perhaps it shouldn’t have been.

“This acquisition brings two great companies together to create a major new force in the global broadcast and media technology market. This will enable us to better serve Quantel and Snell customers around the globe,” said Ray Cross, Executive Chairman and CEO, Quantel. “Our product ranges are entirely complementary so the excellent Snell and Quantel brands and product ranges will continue. We’ll be able to combine the best in class talent and technologies from Quantel and Snell to bring exciting new products and solutions to market to help our customers transform their businesses. More local offices across the world will enable us to build closer relationships with our customers and to offer even better support.”

“Paul Martin, Managing Director of the Snell TV Everywhere division and Robert Rowe, Managing Director of the Snell Live TV division will join the Quantel board to make sure it is business as usual for Snell customers,” continued Cross. Tim Banks, Snell Sales Director and Peter Fredericks, Snell Finance Director are also taking leading roles in the new combined organisation. “I’m really delighted that the Snell and Quantel businesses have come together to increase the scale and scope for both,” said Simon Derry, outgoing CEO at Snell. “Under Ray’s leadership the combined business will be able to write a new and exciting chapter moving forwards. I look forward to supporting Ray during the important period of transition.”

“We will be creating a new world class facility at the company headquarters in Newbury to produce the complete Quantel and Snell product range and we look forward to the new ideas generated when the two R&D teams start to interact,” said Cross.

And finally, just over a year after being finally acquired by the LA-based Gores Group, Harris Broadcast has gone the other way and split itself into two. Imagine Communications, a brand only just acquired itself, will concentrate on the brave new world of IP broadcast, the cloud and so forth, while GatesAir, resurrecting a brand mothballed since the mid-1970s, will concentrate on the TV and radio transmitter business.

In contrast to the Quantel deal, which will see manufacturing ramped up again as both companies consolidate operations at its Newbury HQ, the two Harris companies will be headquartered in different cities, Dallas and Cincinnati, though still presided over by one single CEO, Charlie Vogt. Essentially it is a rebranding and repositioning exercise. “We have created two laser-focused companies that are innovating across different ends of the technology spectrum,” said Vogt (pictured).


And since we first posted that story, there have been more:

Masstech Group has signed a letter of intent to acquire the products and technology of PlayBox Technology.

“The success of Masstech’s solutions and the dynamic changes being driven by consolidation in the broadcast market signaled to our shareholders, who represent some of the largest Venture Capital and Private Equity firms in Canada, that now is the right time to make strategic additions to the Masstech product portfolio,” said Masstech CEO Joe French. “Adding PlayBox enables us to extend the Masstech platform to create the first fully integrated broadcast environment that includes playout and graphics within the asset management system. Our partnership with PlayBox will also significantly expand the worldwide distribution of Masstech’s products and solutions through the PlayBox network.”

 SintecMedia acquired Pilat Media. “Pilat Media’s flagship product, IBMS (Integrated Broadcast Management System), its MediaPro (advertising sales systems), and the OTTilus over-the-top (OTT) TV service platform join SintecMedia’s line of OnAir®, SIMS, Nestor, and Medea solutions to offer best-of-breed business management solutions with increased R&D investment for the benefit of all customers,” ran a statement.

Belden somewhat incautiously chose April 1 to announce that it had completed the acquisition of its previously announced offer to purchase Grass Valley. “The value of this combination for both customers and shareholders is clear,” said the company. “First, by aligning both resources and strategies, Belden creates a business that broadens its offerings, while realizing the benefits of scale. Second, it will enable the most complete product offering in the broadcast industry. Belden now has the ability to simplify the purchasing and management of highly complex infrastructures. Finally, there is a significant opportunity in the application of the Belden Business System, including LEAN enterprise techniques and the Market Delivery System.”

And, lastly, just as NAB opened Dalet announced that it was purchasing AmberFin.

“This acquisition allows us to offer the industry the most advanced level of workflow options. AmberFin has been at the forefront in mastering media, including transcoding and video quality control. The company has spearheaded many widely adopted industry standards such as MXF and AS-02. Its talent and expertise directly complement Dalet’s strengths in enterprise MAM-driven solutions,” said David Lasry, CEO of Dalet. “By melding our resources and innovative technologies, we can enrich both the Dalet and AmberFin products to offer the most complete and forward-thinking solutions for content providers to optimize their human resources and media assets. From ingest through multiplatform delivery, operators in News, Sports and Programming will reap tremendous efficiencies and productivity by applying our combined technologies.”

Quite what the implications of that little lot are will no doubt unfold as the year progresses.