Thomson to sell Grass Valley division

In an effort to appease shareholders that have seen the stock plummet in the past few months, Thomson, the French broadcast equipment conglomerate, announced last week it will sell its Grass Valley broadcast equipment division. It will also sell its PRN digital signage business.

Grass Valley makes broadcast production equipment including cameras, editors, switchers and servers. The company said it is going to refocus its business on “services to content creators,” such as its Technicolor business and its digital set-top business. Grass Valley and the signage business contributed $1.3 billion in sales to Thompson in 2008.

“Today we announce the refocusing of our business on content creators, leveraging our technological expertise and our positioning with network operators,” said Frederic Rose, Thomson’s CEO, in a statement. “Strengthening our balance sheet is the precondition to implementing this strategic framework.”

Grass Valley still plans to exhibit at the NAB show in April, the company said.