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Investors Merge Pro-Bel and Snell & Wilcox

READING and HAVANT, U.K.: British broadcast TV vendors Pro-Bel and Snell & Wilcox have merged operations, both said today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but U.K. investment advisory service AltAssets estimated the value at 72 British pounds--about $101.8 million U.S.

An entirely new company will be formed from the combination; the name of which will be revealed at the NAB show in April, a source said. Both companies make routing and signal processing gear for the pro video market.

Advent funded an MBO of Snell & Wilcox in 2002 for 22 million pounds, or roughly $33.4 million based on average exchange rates for the year. Pro-Bel was similarly funded by LDC, a private equity division of Lloyd’s, for 11 million pounds--$17.6 million--in November of 2003. The two investment firms will create a holding company for the technology vendors, while Advent will maintain ownership of AmberFin, the software service business rolled out by Snell & Wilcox at last year’s NAB.

AltAssets said The Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC contributed $35.4 million in senior debt and working capital facilities for the merger.

Kevan Leggett and Steve Carle from LDC and Peter Baines of Advent will sit on the new company’s board, with non-executive chairman, Gavin Simonds. Graham Pitman, Pro-Bel’s CEO, will become deputy chairman of the new company; Snell & Wilcox chief Simon Derry becomes CEO.