NEVADA CITY, CALIF. and SAN FRANCISCO—Telestream, a 17-year-old company that specializes in live and on-demand digital video tools and workflow solutions, is being acquired by San Francisco-based private equity investment firm Genstar Capital from Telestream’s current owner, Thoma Bravo. No financial details were released but the transaction is expected to close by mid-January.
Genstar Capital is a 20-year old mid-level private equity firm that manages funds with total capital commitments of over $3 billion and targets investments focused on selected sectors within the financial services, software, industrial technology, and healthcare industries. This is its first investment in the digital media sector.
Telestream’s current owner, Thoma Bravo, acquired the company in late 2011 and according to Dan Castles, Telestream co-founder and CEO, Telestream had experienced its most significant growth in the “past several years.”
“We look forward to our new partnership with Genstar as we increase our investment in existing products, accelerate our reach into new customer verticals and fuel our next phase of development through additional M&A activity,” he said. “Our product portfolio and business models are well suited for the Genstar environment.”
Castles, who will continue as CEO, said Telestream—which is privately held and counts CBS, BBC, CNN, Fox, CBC, Comcast, Direct TV, Time Warner, MTV, Discovery, and Lifetime among its customers—has been profitable since 2001. “Thoma was pleased with the investment but it was an opportunity for them to close one chapter and for us to open another,” he said. “It’s a very positive transaction and frankly, been done in a shorter time period than we anticipated. They’ve been watching and talking to us for the past 6-8 months.”
Castles emphasized that the ownership change will be “transparent” for the industry and its customers. “It’s the same management team, the same products, the same strategy, it’s all consistent,” he said. “There’s absolutely zero impact on a day-to-day basis.
“Longer term, they’re a little smaller [than Thoma Bravo], but our leverage, our size the balance of our home business is probably a better fit for them going forward,” Castles added. “Where other [PE firms] were now just getting into this industry, ours wasn’t a distress sale. It’s a new investment horizon with a great group of people who have been watching us and doing their homework.”
Telestream has a long history of successfully mining the video encoding/transcoding, live streaming and video capture markets, with such flagship products as its current Vantage transcoding and workflow automation systems. In its most recent report on the financial status of the company, last fall it announced that its 2013 revenues increased by more than 40 percent. Along the way, Telestream has acquired several companies including encoding specialist Popwire from European telecommunications firm Teleca in 2006, transcoding automation company Anystream from Grab Networks in 2010, and captioning firm CPC in 2013. In a statement announcing the transaction, Genstar indicated that it will support future acquisitions in line with the company’s strategy.
“Genstar has been following Telestream closely and this acquisition is consistent with our strategy of investing in vertical market software companies,” said Eli Weiss, a managing director of Genstar. “Telestream is a leader in its market and has posted profitable growth since its founding. As even more content is generated and viewed on more devices, we believe the company will continue its demonstrated growth trajectory, and we will support Telestream’s experienced and successful management team to expand organic growth via new product releases and pursue add-on acquisitions.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed as both companies are privately held. Telestream will continue to operate as an independent entity with existing management teams continuing their current roles. Headquarters will remain in Nevada City, Calif., with offices in Virginia, San Francisco Bay Area and Germany.
Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.
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