Hard on the heels of Thomson's proposed acquisition of Canopus, the company also announced in December its intention to acquire Thales Broadcast & Multimedia (TBM) and also a strategic partnership with Thales world-wide, writes Fergal Ringrose.
Thomson and Thales intend to develop a relationship in high-value video content management and distribution solutions for in-flight entertainment, security, and defense applications. Under this strategic partnership, Thomson will also acquire TBM, which provides platforms for IPTV services, video-on-demand, mobile TV, and digital TV and radio broadcasting systems and equipment. The purchase price for TBM in cash is approximately €130 million. Total TBM sales for the twelve months to June 30 2005 were €134.9 million, and the unit was profitable.
Thomson Grass Valley VP Strategic Marketing Jeff Rosica told TVBE the company was on course with its two-year plan, which specifically included strengthening in pro-video and network segments. The Canopus and TBM deals achieve the external objectives and will be bedded down in Year Two of the plan in 2006. Other 'organic' introductions such as the Turbo intelligent digital disk recorder, part of a new range of ProLine professional AV products, took place in mid-2005.
Rosica said there was very little overlap in product offerings between Thomson Grass Valley and TBM. He believes the expected integration of TBM into Thomson will bring synergies in terms of technologies, customers and operations. Older members of TBM staff will of course recall that Thales is returning home; in times gone by Thales was Thomson CSF, and then it was Thomcast, finally changing its name to Thales in September 2001. The TBM division, at least, has gone full circle.