Global investment firm The Carlyle Group has acquired LiveU from Francisco Partners, a global investment firm that specialises in partnering with technology businesses. Details of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, are not being disclosed.
Founded in 2006, LiveU provides an end-to-end solution combining mission-critical acquisition, cloud production and IP distribution to broadcasters, sports organisations and production companies.
It has been instrumental in supporting the growing demand for live news and sports content and the requirement to broadcast from remote and non-stationary locations, in particular as video quality requirements have increased in the era of 4K and 8K broadcasting.
With over 3,000 customers in 130+ countries, LiveU’s technology enables broadcasters to guarantee live video uplink quality, helping top-tier global broadcasters as well as major sporting content owners to meet the strong demand from viewers for live and fan-based content. LiveU is currently gearing up for the Tokyo Summer Games with thousands of hours of live video content expected to be transmitted live from the games.
Carlyle says it will use its experience in the media tech sector to support LiveU’s growth ambitions, represented by existing investments in Disguise and NEP alongside prior investments including The Foundry, Vubiquity, BTI Studios and The Mill. Carlyle will seek to further consolidate LiveU’s market position through M&A activity and organic growth while capitalising on the growing demand for high-quality live video transmission. This trend is expected to accelerate with the rollout of 5G, and as media production in the cloud progresses, increasing the requirements for flexible and remote operations.
The group will also leverage its extensive global network to further expand LiveU’s customer base and help to develop relationships with some of the world’s leading content providers. Equity for the investment will be provided by Carlyle Europe Technology Partners (CETP) IV, a fund that invests in middle market technology-focused opportunities in Europe and the US.
Samuel Wasserman, CEO and co-founder of LiveU, said: “We’re excited to partner with Carlyle as we look to expand LiveU’s global footprint and service offering. This is a significant milestone for LiveU and represents a strong vote of confidence in our business. Carlyle brings deep industry expertise with their track record in the media and technology space alongside a global network. We greatly thank Francisco Partners and IGP Capital for their support and partnership over the last few years.”
Michael Wand, managing director and co-head of the CETP advisory team, said: “Carlyle has a history of investing in fast-growing and highly innovative, disruptive media technology companies and is truly excited to partner with LiveU which is at the forefront of a rapidly growing market. Our partnership with the LiveU team will allow us to support their growth, driven by a mixture of expanding into new verticals, targeted M&A activity and through further developing their relationships with key media broadcasters, particularly in live sports where we are witnessing an exploding demand for live content.
“We believe that the ongoing shift towards high-quality real-time video content, the cost advantages of bonded cellular versus alternative transmission technologies, and the opportunity to bring live broadcast to hitherto neglected areas such as semi-pro or non-professional sports, provides an enormous growth potential for LiveU.”
Eran Gorev, Francisco Partners’ president of Israel & senior operating partner, said: “With Francisco Partners’ track record of investing in technology companies across the US, Europe and Israel, we were uniquely positioned to support LiveU as it expanded its customer base, geographic presence and solution suite over recent years and solidified its position as the industry leader. We are proud to have helped Samuel and LiveU’s management team build upon their vision as they continued to innovate, capitalise upon many emerging opportunities in the live video distribution and remote production markets, and cross the $100 million mark in annual sales. We look forward to following the company as it continues to evolve in this next phase of its growth.”
GCA Altium advised LiveU on the transaction.