Belden has completed its acquisition of SAM (Snell Advanced Media), which it will now merge with Grass Valley.
The deal, which was finalised today, ends weeks of mounting industry speculation that the acquisition-hungry Belden had been in advanced talks with SAM.
UK-headquartered SAM will be combined with Grass Valley into a single operation with Montreal as its HQ. The SAM brand, which was unveiled at IBC2015 following the merger of Quantel and Snell, will be dropped.
Grass Valley will continue to be led by Tim Shoulders, who replaced Marco Lopez as President at the start of the year.
Eric Cooney, who was appointed President and CEO of SAM in June last year, will take on an advisory role and form part of the integration team, but the day-to-day leadership will transition to Shoulders.
SAM is supplier of kit for live production, post-production, asset management, playout, infrastructure and image processing, while Grass Valley’s product range includes cameras, servers, control systems, graphics processors.
There is overlap between the two firms’ product sets, including production switchers, automated playout kit and replay servers.
For Belden, additional scale as well as greater reach into geographic areas not served by Grass Valley were cited as reasons for the deal.
In a statement, Shoulders said that “adding SAM’s employees and products to the Grass Valley family extends our global reach, makes us more agile and provides additional domain expertise to enhance our industry leading solutions.
“This transaction helps our customers better navigate the options available to them with fewer concerns around interoperability and deployment while increasing their access to the innovators developing the solutions of tomorrow.”
Ripe for consolidation
The deal, which combines two of the broadcast industry’s biggest vendors, will be welcomed by many, with leaders of other suppliers regularly speaking of the need for consolidation among manufacturers.
At IBC2017, then Chief Executive of Imagine Communications Charlie Vogt spoke about consolidation among broadcasters and the subsequent pressure it had placed on vendors, with 100 key customers shrinking to around 20, which he said had put a lot of strain on suppliers. “We have to consolidate on the supplier side too,” said Vogt.
And his counterpart at Avid, Louis Hernandez Jr, has often spoken about the “highly fragmented” nature of the broadcast vendor market in comparison to other markets, such as financial technology. “It’s obvious that more consolidation needs to happen,” he said in a blog post.
Belden has pursued an aggressive inorganic growth strategy, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on broadband, cyber security, connectivity and broadcast production and delivery manufacturers (see box below).
For Grass Valley and SAM the integration process should be aided by some in-house M&A expertise; following many years of mergers and acquisitions this latest deal will create a company that is comprised of some of the industry’s most well-known firms, including Snell & Wilcox, Quantel, ProBel, Miranda and Softel.
Further details on the merger are expected in the weeks ahead of NAB, where the companies will have a single stand in the South Hall.
Belden: the company and its deals
Belden describes itself as “a global leader in high quality, end-to-end signal transmission solutions for mission-critical applications”, in particular for industrial, enterprise and broadcast markets.
Products sold by companies in the group include fibre optic cables, power connectors, switches, repeaters and converters.
Founded in 1902, the company’s brands now include Hirschmann, Lumberg, Tripwire, ProSoft Technology and one of the broadcast industry’s largest vendors, Grass Valley.
In 2017, Belden’s revenues totalled $2.4bn, up 1.6% on 2016. The company has some 8,400 employees.
Thinklogical, manufacturer of KVM signal extension and and switching systems for video, acquired from private equity firm Riverside Partners for $160m. At the time, Belden said it would boost the company’s Broadcast Solutions platform and provide it with the technology to enter the KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) switching market.
Offer to acquire Digi International, a provider of machine to machine and internet of things connectivity products is rescinded is Belden after the company’s second quarter 2017 results and full-year 2017 outlook is announced. The deal was proposed in November 2016.
Completes acquisition of Tripwire, a provider of threat, security and compliance solutions, for $710m, with the aim of creating “the next generation of cybersecurity solutions that can be deployed across enterprise, industrial, and broadcast markets”.
Grass Valley deal completes, with the $220m purchase adding production switchers, cameras, servers, and editing systems to the Belden offering. “When combined with Miranda, the resulting end-to-end solution will be the most complete and compelling in the industry,” the company said at the time.
Miranda acquires Softel, a UK-based provider of captioning and subtitling products. The company is merged with Miranda.
PPC, a New York-headquartered provider of broadband connectivity solutions for the service provider market, is snapped up for $515.7 million.
Finalises purchase of Miranda, which makes hardware and software solutions for the broadcast infrastructure industry, for $357m. Miranda’s products serve production, playout, and delivery.
Telecast Fiber Systems, which makes cable and wiring products, is bought by Belden.