Francisco Partners Completes Acquisition of Grass Valley

Offer made last July
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SAN FRANCISCO: Private equity firm Francisco Partners has completed its acquisition of Grass Valley, which began doing business as an independent company as of Jan. 1, 2011. Francisco Partners made a $100 million binding offer to Technicolor for Grass Valley last July.

A new website has been established with the latest company information and a management letter to customers. Specific questions can be directed to Grass Valley’s Jeff Rosica via askjeff@grassvalley.com.

Technicolor, nee Thomson, put the Grass Valley business on the block two years ago. The subsequent transaction with Francisco Partners involved an $80 million promissory note issued to Technicolor, with a six-year maturity bearing 5 percent interest. Technicolor agreed to contribute €20 million (US$25.9 million) cash for ongoing operations, and maintain the right to receive “additional consideration” based on a potential future sale.

The broadcast business had 1,457 employees operating in 23 countries as of June 30, 2010. It accounted for 72 percent of the total revenues of the entire Grass division--including headend and transmission--and accounted for 59 percent of Technicolor’s total operating loss.

Terms of the sale included 100 percent ownership of the current Grass Valley Broadcast & Professional business. The sale did not include the Grass Valley transmission and headend businesses. Technicolor rebranded those divisions as Thomson Broadcast and Thomson Video Networks, and plans to divest them separately. Grass Valley was established 50 years ago and merged with Tektronix in 1974. Tek sold it for $46 million and a 10 percent stake in 1999, to private San Diego, Calif., investor, Terry Gooding. Thomson SA purchased the company in 2002 for $172 million. As the company changed hands, its brain trust dispersed and launched new companies, including Nvision, Telestream, Editware, Sierra Video Systems, Ensemble Designs, AJA Video and others.

-- Deborah D. McAdams