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Harris to Acquire Leitch Technology

Harris Corporation announced a definitive agreement to acquire all of the shares of Leitch Technology Corporation on Aug. 31. The $450 million acquisition is to be completed by way of a statutory plan of arrangement and is subject to approval by Leitch shareholders, customary regulatory and court approvals, and other closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close in approximately 60 days.

Leitch provides video systems for the television broadcast industry, including routers and distribution equipment, signal processing, signal management and monitoring, servers and storage area networks, branding software, and post-production editing systems. Harris is offers digital broadcast technology solutions, including television and radio transmission systems, networking solutions, and enterprise-wide software and media management systems. Howard L. Lance, chairman, president, and CEO of Harris, is excited about the merger. "Our products are very complimentary with each other, with limited overlap," he said.

Two recent acquisitions, Videotek and Inscriber, expanded Leitch's product offerings, and that the company is "clearly on the upslope" of a financial turnaround, according to Lance. Further, his market research showed that Leitch is a "great brand" that is "clearly undervalued."

Leitch's products will allow Harris to compete in a larger part of the broadcast market by expanding its content operations and delivery solutions, as well as adding content creation products and software. As a result, the acquisition will allow Harris to compete in "virtually every segment of the content delivery chain." Plus, the Leitch acquisition should help position Harris to compete in digital transition opportunities in the international market in the future. The management team at Leitch is "doing a lot of things right," and is expected to remain with the business, Lance noted. He also doesn't expect any major changes in operations when the company is acquired. "The combination of Leitch Technology and Harris Corporation will create a powerful force in the global broadcast industry," added Tim Thorsteinson, president and CEO of Leitch Technology. "We view the opportunity as extremely positive for our employees, customers, and shareholders."