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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

Photos from LDI 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada

JimOnLight with tieline dredlocks.  Oh yeah, and Kung-Fu Action Grip:

I’m back at the helm in Toronto; LDI 2012 has come and gone, I got to see lots of really amazing people, and I got blinded by not one, not seven, but eleventy (yeah, eleventy) freaking LED sources and screens.  It was so refreshing to see a tungsten or an HMI source around the convention center just as a reference to something that has more than one wavelength in a row together.  Holy schmoly!

LDI was full of pretty striking stuff, from lasers and salvo systems to new gobos and moving moving light systems, which was pretty awesome!  Now obviously seeing photos is a lot less ridiculous than reading me talk about photos, so check this out below — a ton of photos from LDI and the show floor!

This is what I made for the BlackTrax guys to go do their magic, which they do very well.  BlackTrax is out and on the market.  If you were at the show, you saw the demo up in N256 at the LVCC:

BlackTrax from CAST Group -- Room N256

The BT guys calibrating the system.  They have it down to about five minutes.

LDI-2012-jimonlight-3

Ladies and gentlemen:  The HOG 4.

Hog 4

The High End Systems booth:

stabbing beams at the HES Booth

DMX controlled AirStar balloons!  Awesome!

AirStar at LDI 2012

This was next to us on the show floor — VER’s “upside-down-porno-bedroom-ceiling” thing.  Oh, f*cking hell it was amazing.  I mean absolutely amazing.  I was so proud to be in the view of this booth with my CAST booth, it was absolutely awe inspiring.  I’ll figure out the model of the beautiful equipment being displayed here, but believe me when I say it deserved the award for Best Product Display that it won:

VER at LDI 2012

InLight Gobos!!!  Oh, I have to report that some real winner stole a glass gobo from the InLight Gobos booth, over next to the High End booth.  It was set up on the table, Adri bent down to attend to something in a bag on the floor, and *poof* it was gone.  If you read this blog and you took that gobo, it means that you had an absolute error in judgement.  Mail that thing back to InLight Gobos, 2348 Irving Blvd, Dallas, TX 75207 — be a good human.  Write “I’m Sorry” on the back of the package, too.  It sucks they had to deal with that.

On a lighter note, hey lighting designers — you ever used the rubber band ball gobo from InLight?  That thing is a breakup, an aerial, a wash, and a great atmospheric look maker too.  Every color of the spectrum gives it new characteristics.  Trust me, try it.  You can try it in wysiwyg R29 now too, thanks to Rick and Adri at InLight and Peter Debreceni at CAST for getting the catalogue into the release.  People at LDI who use WYG really seem to dig the InLight lineup — I believe in it, so I figured why not spread the good art word?

InLight Gobos at LDI 2012

There is this guy I know named Peter Kirkup, and he is absolutely one of my favorite people on planet Earth; not because of his ridiculously polite bedside manner, but because he is an industry visionary that has been right since I’ve known him.  I call that a feat in itself; I look to Peter for answers on anything regarding wireless what-have-you, and Peter is now the Vice President of Entertainment for LumenRadio in Sweden.  You might know hime from Cooper Controls and Zero88 fame, when he was just a lowly Product Manager.  Dude, remember — köttbullar i Sverige är inte svenska köttbullar, de är bara köttbullar!

Seriously though, we need to listen to peter’s brain, lighting industry.  He explained something to me that was so amazing, so ingenius as I see it – that I just had to hear him explain it again.  More on that later.  Peter’s a genius.  Ladies, grab him before he’s off the market, Peter’s like the John Holmes of brain power.

Peter Kirkup, VP of Entertainment at LumenRadio

Mac Viper Profile.  I have to say that I am impressed — I spent a lot of my time on shows working with a lot of Martin gear, lots of Mac 2K profiles and washes as you can imagine, Performance versus Profiles was always an argument you had to have in your head when making up a shop order.  “Do I want the FX ribbon, and are framing shutters that important for this one?”  I have no apologies for rocking the living daylights out of Mac 2000 Profiles.  They are absolutely awesome fixtures, despite what your opinions are on it.  I’ve had them apart on the truss while in a basket too, for the bang, they are perfect fixtures.  It looks like the Viper is going to be exactly the same way, and I am so absolutely excited to get my hands on some.  As it was put to me, the Viper is the “Mac 2000 replacement for this decade.”  It is awesome.  Ooh, so is the Mac III AirFX too, just as a side note.

MAC Viper

Oh hey look, another Chinese copy of a Sharpy.

COPY

POINT OF ORDER:  The handles on the VL3515 are very cool.  I yanked around on them quite a bit while I was standing there (perhaps much to the dismay of the guy who I met right there at that point), and they seemed solid and non-conforming.

I LOVE these new handles!

VL3015

What a beautiful booth!

Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) at LDI 2012

Me and Susan Rose!  Yes, this Susan Rose.  This guide got me through the teething gigs of the Hog II!

JimOnLight and Susan Rose

Philips Entertainment at LDI 2012

THIS IS EXCELLENT.  The V276 is now available as a piece of gear for sale!  It works on your MAC!  Also, the BAD BOY and BEST BOY are available for SALE!  I think that they are two of the best fixtures built in the last five years, and I really do hope to see them explode in popularity.  They’re solid.  No matter what you think of PRG – whether you’re a fan or a non-fan – Bad Boy and Best Boy rock.  Now there is the V276 on MAC, which allows you the use of the pretty slick V-Series software.  You can run MBOX on this panel, too!  Miguel Ribeiro showed me some amazing things at LDI about MBOX, I am pretty excited to check it out.

the V276 from PRG

The Clay Paky booth at LDI — oh the Sharpys!

Clay Paky, LDI 2012

DTS’s continuously panning beam fixtures.  You have to see these things to believe it, they are poppy and bright, punchy and presentable.  Their booth was one of my faves, designed by a cool LD from Europe, Georg Telos.  Great work, Georg!

DTS/Strong, LDI 2012

The rest of the photos I took at LDI are below in a few different types of Flickr galleries, check out which one works best for you!  Let me know if one or the other floats your boat better than, uh, the other.  Just leave a comment.

Another Flickr show:

LDI 2010: Martin Lighting’s Booth

Sorry for the bit of delay in my first post of the day, I’ve been trying to get Wicked Lasers to tell me why I paid for $400 bucks’ worth of lasers and optics in AUGUST and still haven’t received any product.  Awesome, huh?

Anywho – check out the first post of LDI 2010 highlights – MARTIN LIGHTING’s booth!  It’s always one of my favorites – these booths are often works of art, and I love seeing the new designs each year.  Check out some pics – gotta love those Mac 301s!

Click on any thumbnail to hit the gallery view – each image opens up to full size!

Jeff Waful Rocks the Hell Out of New Years Eve 2009

Folks, I just cannot hold off on posting these images any longer.  I am editing a phone interview I just had with Jeff Waful of Umphrey’s McGee right now into a podcast, but I just felt I was actually depriving the world of these awesome images by not posting them.  Jeff Waful posted some info on his blog about the New Years’ Eve run at the Vic Theatre in Chicago (December 29) and the Aragon Theatre (December 30-31) also in Chicago.

These shots are unbefreakinglievably beautiful to me.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  Great work, Jeff.  Stay tuned for the interview!

For those who don’t know, Jeff’s out rocking the Mac III right now.  Video below, and photos below that.

jeff-waful-LD-Umphreys-McGee-1

jeff-waful-LD-Umphreys-McGee-2

jeff-waful-LD-Umphreys-McGee-3

jeff-waful-LD-Umphreys-McGee-4

jeff-waful-LD-Umphreys-McGee-5

jeff-waful-LD-Umphreys-McGee-6

Great.

Mac 250 Krypton Is Turning SIX!

mac250krypton

Get out the clown birthday hats and someone buy a big cake (cream chese frosting, of course) – because Martin’s Mac 250 Krypton is about to turn six years old!  Mac 250s are such workhorse fixtures – I’ve seen so many of them in the past five years, and I’ve toured with them.  They’re good stuff.

Here’s something just extra special – Martin is offering 10% off of their price for Mac 250 Krypton from now until the end of June.  Check out Martin’s page on this deal.

Happy Birthday, Mac 250 Krypton!  Thanks for never showing up to work hung over!

Mac III’s Ever-Expanding Rep of Tours

Martin is getting more and more news that designers are putting the Mac III in their light plots.  An article in TPI Magazine about the French singer Raphael talks about how the Mac III was designed and incorporated into rig.  From TPI’s article:

Watson used the MAC III Profiles, outfitted with custom gobos, in conjunction with a number of Martin MAC 2000 Performance units. “I chose the MAC III for the brightness and quality of the beam as well as the animation wheel which I adore,” he says. “The zoom range proved to be an absolute winner and of course the fixture’s ability to create red from the color mixing system is a real novelty and a welcome one at that!”

Watson placed six MAC III Profile units on the front truss for front key lighting and for texture washes of both the band and the set. The remaining six fixtures were mounted on the highest of the rear trusses and used for rear band lighting and aerial beam texturing.

There are an increasing number of tours and shows that are rocking the Mac III – James Blunt, Staind, So You Think You Can Dance Holland, The Royal Variety Performance 2008 – are you currently designing anything using the Mac III profile?  Have you designed anything recently using the Mac III profile?  Please post in the comments!

LDI – Martin Lighting’s Area

I was very impressed at the Martin booth – lots of pixel video, the Mac III is still awesome, but I had a hard time getting anyone to talk to me about it.  Lots of people there, I’m sure I didn’t look too important, or at least unimportant by comparison.

It was great to see the Mac III in action!

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