Thomson Takes Canopus

Thomson is buying Canopus, a Japanese editing software maker, in a deal valued at $107 million. Thomson will first take a one-third stake in the company through a private transaction with Canopus Chairman and CEO Hiroshi Yamada and his family. The French technology behemoth made a public tender Dec. 6 for the r
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Thomson is buying Canopus, a Japanese editing software maker, in a deal valued at $107 million. Thomson will first take a one-third stake in the company through a private transaction with Canopus Chairman and CEO Hiroshi Yamada and his family. The French technology behemoth made a public tender Dec. 6 for the remaining shares of Canopus.

The Canopus operations will be rolled into the Grass Valley Broadcast & Networks business, and save Thomson the trouble of sinking possibly a larger investment into research and development to break into HD desktop editing.

"Canopus brings important products and technologies that allow us to address multiple facets of our growth strategy and accelerate key elements of our R&D roadmap," said Marc Valentin, president of the Grass Valley.

Grass Valley is heavily into cameras, servers, switchers, routers, signal processing and storage, and while it offers NewEdit nonlinear editing hardware, it has no editing software products comparable to the Canopus Edius line and the company's other various A/V products in the PC space.

Canopus posted around $58.6 million in revenues for the 12 months ending Aug. 31, with around 81 percent of it coming from the core ProAV and video editing operations. Thomson said the acquisition would start generating revenue after an initial neutral first year.

Thomson said Yamada "will continue to play a leadership role in managing the Canopus business" with input from Grass Valley senior management. The deal with Yamada, who holds 40 percent of Canopus shares, will be half cash, and half (821,917) Thomson shares.

Contingent upon obtaining a large enough piece of Canopus, Thomson is offering an acquisition share price of 148,000 yen, or $1,228. The tender offer represents a 20 percent premium over the 30-day average closing price of 123,000 yen, or $1,020 as of Dec. 2, according to Thomson. The tender will be open for 42 days. Upon full acquisition of the company, Thomson intends to have it delisted from the Tokyo exchange.

Accompanying the Canopus announcement, Valentin indicated that Thomson was also in talks with fellow French company Thales to acquire that company's transmitter division, Thales Broadcast & Multimedia.

With both acquisitions, Thomson will have completed what it referred to as its "Two Year Plan" involving four key revenue groups, at which the Grass Valley division is the center. The plan calls for doubling the number of media and entertainment clients and growing revenues in that sector by around $2 billion. The company is expected to update investors Dec. 13 on how the plan has panned out.