It’s Official, High End Systems is an ETC Company Now

Just heard the news — ETC has officially acquired High End Systems, so now High End Systems is an ETC company.  I’ve heard lots of rumors and speculation about the future, but none of it is bad, all of it is good for High End Systems.  Richard Belliveau and his team have innovated our industry very far, and I would argue that we have him to thank, among others of course, for what we have to call an industry today.

From the news room at ETC:

High End Systems, an ETC Company

ETC acquires High End Systems

Middleton, WI (31 March 2017) – ETC and High End Systems announce today they are joining forces as ETC completes the acquisition of the Austin, TX based company from Barco Inc. “We welcome the High End team to the ETC family. ETC will provide a strong support structure for High End to continue to innovate and make great products for the industry,” says ETC CEO Fred Foster.

High End is known for dynamic products such as the Sola family of all-LED automated fixtures, and Wholehog consoles. David Lincecum, VP of Marketing at ETC says, “We value the High End products and plan to expand work on their portfolio. We want customers to know that ETC will protect your investment in High End products through strengthened service, support, and development.”

The addition of High End enables ETC, a current market leader in the theatrical, broadcast and architectural markets, to broaden its strategic focus and pursue additional desired areas of technology growth. High End gains the oversight of an experienced lighting industry management team to help the company better realize its full potential as a market leader in event lighting.

ETC will operate High End as a separate company located in its current Austin, TX facility. High End customers will continue to contact the Austin office for sales and service, and sales distribution channels worldwide remain the same for the foreseeable future.

And there we have it!

Merges and Acquisitions – Lighting Industry Business Happening Now

2017 has already been stupid busy for the lighting industries.  There are more than a handfuls of deals going on right now that I know about, and I’m sure another two handfuls after that I don’t know.  Business is moving upwards in this Trumpian economy for some reason.  Seriously, look at the gentle climb under Obama, then look at the rise in business stocks since Trump:

Look under November 2016…  See the huge dip and then ENORMOUS rise, right around the middle of November?  Business stocks picked up MAJOR steam right about then!  I wonder why that was…  hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmTrump.  When businesses are in control of their financial growth for the next however many years this is going to go on, you will see more of a rise and steady growth in the dow and NASDAQ numbers.  Businesses will make more money.  The real test, especially in our industries, is if that growth will translate down into the foot soldiers of lighting, its men and women infantry of photon superiority out there stringing cable and programming fixtures to make the shows great for people.  This is and always will be the test; watch which companies put back in when they get something out, as arbitrage business opportunities can really show a company’s strength, or lack.

In 2017 so far, and forgive me if I’ve missed any, there has been news of three major business decisions that have been or are close to being finalized:

  • Samsung acquired Harman, who recently bought Martin Lighting
  • Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) is working out acquiring High End Systems, who has been a BARCO company
  • Chauvet and Sons just acquired Chamsys, the lighting control manufacturer

That’s a whole heck of a lot of movement!  It’s like the early 2000’s when Vari*Lite was sold to Genlyte Thomas and all of those VLPS offices closed across the country, and then Genlyte Thomas was purchased by Philips, which then made Vari*Lite a Philips Entertainment company.  Maybe this stuff is only interesting to me, but I love watching how companies behave when they don’t have to behave a specific way, if you know what I mean.  Companies get to operate as people, legally, and if we act like crappy people, we get labeled as a crappy person.  I think the same goes for companies — watch how companies behave, it is literally your responsibility, like it is mine, to police our industry.  The same goes for policing your own reputation, but there are a series of posts dedicated to that particular subject coming out very soon, and they are going to be epic.

Starting with Samsung acquiring Harman/Martin, from the Samsung Newsroom:

Samsung Electronics and Harman International Industries, Incorporated today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Samsung will acquire HARMAN for $112.00 per share in cash, or total equity value of approximately $8.0 billion.  Upon closing, the transaction will immediately give Samsung a significant presence in the large and rapidly growing market for connected technologies, particularly automotive electronics, which has been a strategic priority for Samsung, and is expected to grow to more than $100 billion by 2025¹ . HARMAN is the market leader in connected car solutions, with more than 30 million vehicles currently equipped with its connected car and audio systems, including embedded infotainment, telematics, connected safety and security. Approximately 65% of HARMAN’s $7.0 billion of reported sales during the 12 months ended September 30, 2016 are automotive-related, and its order backlog for this market at June 30, 2016 was approximately $24 billion.

HARMAN’s experience designing and integrating sophisticated in-vehicle technologies, as well as its long-term relationships with most of the world’s largest automakers, will create significant growth opportunities for the combined business by enabling it to leverage Samsung’s expertise in connected mobility, semiconductors, user experience, displays and its global distribution channels. In addition, the combination of HARMAN’s brands and audio capabilities and Samsung’s expertise in consumer electronics will deliver enhanced customer benefits and elevate user experiences across Samsung’s complete portfolio of consumer and professional products and systems.

“HARMAN perfectly complements Samsung in terms of technologies, products and solutions, and joining forces is a natural extension of the automotive strategy we have been pursuing for some time,” said Oh-Hyun Kwon, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Samsung Electronics.  “As a Tier 1 automotive supplier with deep customer relationships, strong brands, leading technology and a recognized portfolio of best-in-class products, HARMAN immediately establishes a strong foundation for Samsung to grow our automotive platform. Dinesh Paliwal is a proven global leader and, in our extensive discussions, we have developed deep respect for him, his strong senior leadership team and HARMAN’s talented employees.  HARMAN’s sustained track record of rapid growth fueled by technology leadership and an unmatched automotive order pipeline reflects its commitment to innovation and customers.”

“The vehicle of tomorrow will be transformed by smart technology and connectivity in the same way that simple feature phones have become sophisticated smart devices over the past decade,” added Young Sohn, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung Electronics. “We see substantial long-term growth opportunities in the auto technology market as demand for Samsung’s specialized electronic components and solutions continues to grow.  Working together, we are confident that HARMAN can become a new kind of Tier 1 provider to the OEMs by delivering end-to-end solutions across the connected ecosystem.”

Dinesh Paliwal, HARMAN Chairman, President and CEO, stated, “This compelling all-cash transaction will deliver significant and immediate value to our shareholders and provide new opportunities for our employees as part of a larger, more diversified company.  Today’s announcement is a testament to what we have achieved and the value that we have created for shareholders.  Samsung is an ideal partner for HARMAN and this transaction will provide tremendous benefits to our automotive customers and consumers around the world.  Combining Samsung’s strengths in leading-edge displays, connectivity and processing solutions with HARMAN’s technology leadership and long-standing customer relationships will enable OEMs to provide new offerings for their customers.  Partnerships and scale are essential to winning over the long term in automotive as demand for robust connected car and autonomous driving solutions increases at a rapid pace.  This transaction will bring HARMAN and Samsung’s complementary strengths together to accelerate innovation in this space. More broadly, this investment underscores the strength of HARMAN’s employees, as well as our success and leadership across our markets.  We look forward to working together with Samsung to elevate experiences for consumers worldwide.”

Customer Benefits and Significant Growth Opportunities

Samsung expects the combination to deliver significant growth opportunities and benefits to customers by leveraging Samsung’s and HARMAN’s complementary technologies, resulting in increased market penetration across important end markets.

• Automotive:  Combining HARMAN’s leadership in new connected car technologies, including its top positions in infotainment, cyber security, over-the-air updates and telematics, with Samsung’s significant expertise and experience in connectivity technologies, including 5G, UX/UI, display technology and security solutions, will enhance HARMAN’s automotive and connected services businesses to drive greater sales and provide significant benefits as automakers speed the adoption of next-generation connected cars.

• Audio:  HARMAN’s leading brands and cutting-edge audio systems include JBL®, Harman Kardon®, Mark Levinson®, AKG®, Lexicon®, Infinity®, and Revel®.  The company also licenses Bowers & Wilkins® and Bang & Olufsen® brands for automotive.  All of these brands will greatly enhance the competitiveness of Samsung’s mobile, display, virtual reality and wearable products to deliver a fully differentiated audio and visual experience for customers.

• Professional:  The combination will also expand the combined company’s business-to-business platform through its ability to deliver integrated, large-scale audio and visual professional solutions at stadiums, concert facilities and other performance centers such as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and STAPLES Center – home of the GRAMMY Awards®.

• Connected Services:  Samsung will gain access to HARMAN’s 8,000 software designers and engineers who are unlocking the potential of the IoT market.  This collaboration will deliver the next generation of cloud-based consumer and enterprise experiences, as well as end-to-end services for the automotive market through the convergence of design, data and devices.

Operating Structure and Leadership

Upon closing, HARMAN will operate as a standalone Samsung subsidiary, and continue to be led by Dinesh Paliwal and HARMAN’s current management team.  Samsung is pursuing a long-term growth strategy in automotive electronics, and plans to retain HARMAN’s work force, headquarters and facilities, as well as all of its consumer and professional audio brands.  Samsung believes the combination will increase career development and advancement opportunities for the employees of both companies.

Samsung’s Automotive Electronics Business Team, which was established in December of 2015 to identify opportunities for Samsung in the automotive sector, will work closely with the HARMAN management team to realize the full growth potential of the combination.

Terms of the Transaction

The purchase price represents a premium of 28% based on HARMAN’s closing stock price on November 11, 2016 and a 37% premium to HARMAN’s 30-calendar day volume weighted average price ending November 11, 2016.  Samsung expects to use cash on hand to fund the transaction.  The agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

The transaction, which is subject to approval by HARMAN shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, is expected to close in mid-2017.

Advisors

Evercore is serving as financial advisor to Samsung and Paul Hastings LLP is acting as legal counsel.  J.P. Morgan and Lazard are serving as financial advisors to HARMAN and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is acting as legal counsel.

Next up is the acquisition of High End Systems by ETC from BARCO — so many letters!!  From a post here at JimOnLight:

Middleton, WI (01, March, 2017) – ETC and Barco announced today that they are in the midst of serious discussions wherein ETC would acquire High End Systems. While the timeline for the completion of this acquisition is still unknown, both parties are committed to moving forward with a successful transaction.

Wim Buyens, senior vice president of Barco’s Entertainment division, commented, “For Barco, the divestment of its lighting activities is in line with its strategy to sharpen the focus on its core activities. We believe joining forces with ETC would enable High End Systems to realize its full business potential while providing ongoing support and opportunity development for its customers, and we appreciate ETC’s commitment to maintain High End’s operations in Austin and fully support the development of High End’s products.”

Fred Foster, ETC CEO commented today, “ETC has been executing a strategy to grow our company. We want to offer our employee-owners opportunities for greater personal success and continue to give our customers innovative products and services. We see adding HES to the ETC family as an opportunity for both of those things. Our plan is to continue High End operations from their current location in Austin, TX. High End products like the Sola family of LED automated fixtures, Wholehog consoles, and Axon media servers are innovative tools for the live-events industry. Our intention is to make the investments needed in order to restore these products and the High End brand to market-leader status.”

Foster continues, “We place a high value in not only the High End products, but also the employees that will join our ETC family with the completion of this acquisition. Both companies have similar core values when it comes to innovation and I know working together will be a great success.”

More information will be announced in the coming weeks, once the acquisition reaches final stages.

Then Chauvet comes out and BOOM!  They acquired Chamsys.  From the Chauvet newsroom:

SUNRISE, FL, USA – Chauvet & Sons LLC has announced that it completed the acquisition of ChamSys Ltd., the Southampton, UK-based designer and manufacturer of lighting controllers. ChamSys provides Chauvet a strong presence in the controller market that complements its CHAUVET Professional lighting fixtures and LED video panels.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to join forces with ChamSys,” said Albert Chauvet, CEO of Chauvet & Sons LLC. “ChamSys has a well-deserved reputation for innovation, quality and value, the same principles that are at the heart of our own Chauvet brands. Together ChamSys and Chauvet are now in a position to better cover and serve worldwide markets.”

ChamSys will continue to operate as an independent business unit from its facility in Southampton, UK. ChamSys founders Chris Kennedy and George McDuff will remain as Managing Directors of the company and, together with Sales Director Tony Cameron, will continue to lead its current staff of software and hardware engineers, operations, sales and support teams.

The ChamSys industry standard MagicQ series of lighting control products will continue to be sold by the company’s current network of distributors, except in the USA, where Chauvet will sell and support ChamSys products from its Sunrise, Florida headquarters. The CHAUVET Professional sales team will assume responsibility for ChamSys sales in the USA. They will have the full-time support of Phil Watson, former CEO of ChamSys, Inc. who has been named ChamSys USA Director.

“We’re committed to maintaining the ChamSys brand and its reputation for excellence by supporting the vision and culture of its management team,” added Albert Chauvet. “At the same time, we’re also looking forward to building ChamSys in the USA and making this outstanding line of controllers available to an even larger market.”

ChamSys Managing Director Chris Kennedy echoed this enthusiasm. “Chauvet and ChamSys share similar cultures, a strong sense of respect for our customers, an appreciation of our staffs and a powerful drive to be the best in our markets,” he said. “This partnership is clearly a logical step for both companies. We deeply appreciate that Chauvet is committed to building on our 14-year heritage so that ChamSys becomes even stronger in the future.”

 

A major congratulations to all of the people and companies involved here, I look forward to seeing what happens next this year in our beloved industry!

Company links:

Samsung // HARMAN / MARTIN

ETC // High End Systems

Chauvet and Sons // Chamsys

DECLASSIFIED – Over 750 Nuclear Weapons Test Videos. Unreal.

Operation Teapot nuclear test photo from 1955

Lighting designers and video content people, heads up.  An amazing trove of over 750 films from the late 50’s and early 60’s have just been declassified, and scientists have put these old nuclear test films, many of them nitrate films disintegrating from sheer age, up on Youtube.

Recently, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has released a HUGE amount of nuclear project test videos for the numerous operations that the US Government conducted in order to test their weapons design, weapons damage effects, radiation fallout and effect testing, as well as many other types of tests.  It’s actually kinda genius how they conducted these tests — an “operation” would consist of a number of tests around a certain thing they wanted to test.  For example, I found in my research that the 14 tests that the US conducted in Nevada around 1955 were called Operation Teapot — 14 tests over things like damage, power, design of the actual weapon, and how it was delivered.  Each of the payloads (explosions) themselves were also named within the operation — so you have an operation that has X amount of tests — and this test video below was from the explosion in Operation Teapot aptly called TESLA, the third explosion test of Operation Teapot, on the first of March, 1955 at 1pm.  Seriously, watch this — this explosion was from high up on a steel tower — and it worked by smashing the core of the weapon from both ends of a tube, called a Linear Implosion:

Unreal. Another video angle of the TESLA payload explosion, which was meant to test the weapon’s design:

Lawrence Livermore has released an entirety of these videos. The playlist is here, on the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Youtube channel — if you work with light, I highly recommend you checking these out. This is light, all light, in its purest broken down form of photons, doing all the damage that photons can make happen. Learn light for all that it is.

One more…  This is Operation Hardtack 1, the Nutmeg explosion; Operation Hardtack 1 was a group operation that included surface tests and barge tests, at the famous Bikini Atoll location.  This was a 25.1 kiloton burst from a barge above a huge underground crater made from previous test detonations.  Watch the power of this monster we were unleashing:

And of course the entire playlist, totally worth a scroll:

Link hat tips

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Youtube channel

Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Films youtube playlist (also seen above here)

Funker530 — one of my favorite military blogs, pointed this out

Wikiwand — just an excellent information trove

 

IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, DGA, and WGA East/West Issue Joint Statement on Arts Cuts

Arts cuts.  Organizations in our purview are commenting on President Trump’s proposed cuts to National Arts funding.  Just having returned from USITT this week, I was surprised to hear conversations for and against his cuts to the artistic health of the United States.  If we’ve got no arts, what is any of this worth?

From the DGA website:

DGA, SAG-AFTRA, WGA West and East, and IATSE Statement on the Administration’s Proposed Cuts to Arts Funding

March 16, 2017

Los Angeles – The DGA, SAG-AFTRA and WGA West and East, and IATSE—as the Guilds representing creators, performers, technicians and artists in American film, television, radio, sound recordings and digital media—urge our nation’s leaders to preserve funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. As a source of inspiration, action and economic growth, our country’s creative arts are integral to our culture, our American identity and our democracy. Access to the arts has fueled generations of great Americans, uplifted communities and helped heal our nation’s greatest divides. Cutting federal support of these programs will not only hurt artists and those who benefit from their work, it will also send a damaging message to future generations about the power of art and its place in our culture.

BARCO’s Talking to ETC About Buying High End Systems

Well, we’ve all been wondering who was sniffing, now we know — BARCO is in talks with Electronic Theatre Controls (yes, THAT ETC) about putting High End Systems somewhere within the ETC line.  It’s not a secret that the Revolution didn’t quite hit the rental market like they liked (although it is a fine moving head for its application), and this is a brilliant move for a manufacturer already in a good place with the conventional market, high quality LED markets, and theatrical lighting control market.

We here at JimOnLight.com always have a place in our heart for the High End brand, and I personally am always glad for people to get to continue to reap the creations that come from Richard Belliveau’s big ol’ brain.  Awesome, ETC and High End!

From an email from High End’s marketing department:

Barco and ETC announced today that they are in the midst of serious discussions wherein ETC would acquire High End Systems, Barco’s lighting activities, part of the Entertainment division. While the timeline for the completion of this acquisition is still unknown, both parties are committed to moving forward with a successful transaction.

Wim Buyens, senior vice president of Barco’s Entertainment division, commented, “For Barco, the envisioned divestment of its lighting activities is in line with its strategy to sharpen the focus on its core activities. We believe joining forces with ETC would enable High End Systems to realize its full business potential, while providing ongoing support and opportunity development for its customers, and we appreciate ETC’s commitment to maintain High End’s operations in Austin and fully support the development of High End’s products.”

Fred Foster, ETC CEO commented today, “ETC has been executing a strategy to grow our company. We want to offer our employee-owners opportunities for greater personal success and continue to give our customers innovative products and services. We see adding HES to the ETC family as an opportunity for both of those things. Our plan is to continue High End operations from their current location in Austin, TX. High End products like the Sola family of LED automated fixtures, Wholehog consoles, and Axon media servers are innovative tools for the live-events industry. Our intention is to make the investments needed in order to restore these products and the High End brand to market-leader status.”

Foster continues, “We place a high value in not only the High End products, but also the employees that will join our ETC family with the completion of this acquisition. Both companies have similar core values when it comes to innovation and I know working together will be a great success.”

More information will be announced in the coming weeks as it becomes available.

From the ETC Press Ninjas, Rachel Frederick in particular:

Middleton, WI (01, March, 2017) – ETC and Barco announced today that they are in the midst of serious discussions wherein ETC would acquire High End Systems. While the timeline for the completion of this acquisition is still unknown, both parties are committed to moving forward with a successful transaction.

Wim Buyens, senior vice president of Barco’s Entertainment division, commented, “For Barco, the divestment of its lighting activities is in line with its strategy to sharpen the focus on its core activities. We believe joining forces with ETC would enable High End Systems to realize its full business potential while providing ongoing support and opportunity development for its customers, and we appreciate ETC’s commitment to maintain High End’s operations in Austin and fully support the development of High End’s products.”

Fred Foster, ETC CEO commented today, “ETC has been executing a strategy to grow our company. We want to offer our employee-owners opportunities for greater personal success and continue to give our customers innovative products and services. We see adding HES to the ETC family as an opportunity for both of those things. Our plan is to continue High End operations from their current location in Austin, TX. High End products like the Sola family of LED automated fixtures, Wholehog consoles, and Axon media servers are innovative tools for the live-events industry. Our intention is to make the investments needed in order to restore these products and the High End brand to market-leader status.”

Foster continues, “We place a high value in not only the High End products, but also the employees that will join our ETC family with the completion of this acquisition. Both companies have similar core values when it comes to innovation and I know working together will be a great success.”

More information will be announced in the coming weeks, once the acquisition reaches final stages.

BARCO’s stock is kinda kicking some booty — here’s the last year to date:

BARCO’s one year stock performance

 

Keep kicking the photons, High End Systems!!  Nothing but love for you!!