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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!!

In Case You Hadn’t Heard, ESTA and PLASA are Proposing A Merger

This is pretty huge news, everybody – if you’ve not heard about this yet, it’s time to hear about it now.

Two major organizations in the entertainment industry, the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA) and the Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA) are voting on a merger.  “Wait a second,” you might ask yourself – “what good would that do?”  Well, that’s what being a professional in the industry is all about – working on making our industry better one step at a time.  That also means making decisions about what happens in our industry, and now is the time for action.  If you’re a member of ESTA or PLASA, you’ll be getting a ballot soon – send it in!  On May 31, voting closes on the merger, and we’ll hear about the results in early June.

What are your thoughts on the merger of PLASA and ESTA?  Please comment below and share your views!

If you want to see the packet that was mailed around to members, the link is here (PDF link), and the ESTA website has additional information on the merger.  Below is a letter than was sent out a month or so ago regarding the merger:


Dear Members,

It has sometimes been said that many people spend more time ‘planning the wedding’ than they do ‘planning the marriage.’  We will tell you (with great conviction) that this is certainly not the case when it comes to the proposed merger between ESTA and PLASA. Ever since last fall when we announced that the ESTA Board of Directors and the PLASA Executive Committee had agreed in principle to merge our two associations, countless hours have been spent by the ESTA and PLASA teams, your elected representatives and numerous volunteers to provide you with specific information on several topics to prepare you to cast your vote in May, 2010.

The best business plans are straightforward documents that spell out the “who, what, where, why and how much” and that is precisely what we have tried to do for you. This package includes the following:
  • An Executive Summary that clearly identifies the key issues and provides a high level view of the rationale for this merger and how the merged association will operate. Most importantly, it provides you with information about how this merger will impact you as a member of ESTA;
  • Documents have been provided that offer specific details regarding the following:
    – Membership Structure
    – Governance Structure
    – Dues Structure
    – Code of Conduct
    – Technical Standards Program
It is very important to point out the following:
  • The current ESTA staff fully supports this merger and all of them will continue to provide you with member benefits and services;
  • The member benefits and services are in no way reduced by this merger. In point of fact, new benefits and services are planned and others will be enhanced;
  • ETCP will continue as a major program dedicated to fostering safety in the industry and will operate along a separate but parallel path to PLASA’s program to accommodate both legal and regional differences in certification standards;
  • The existing committee structure will continue and will enable PLASA in North America to continue to make good use of the valuable volunteer efforts that have long been the core of our association;
  • Protocol will continue to be offered as a quarterly journal and will become a part of the PLASA Publishing team;
  • The ESTA Foundation will continue to operate as a separate 501(c)3 educational and charitable foundation under its existing name. The merged association will continue to provide support for the Foundation and its programs including Behind the Scenes.
As we said, a tremendous amount of work has been done already (and will continue through the voting process). This merger has our complete support and also enjoys the unconditional support of the ESTA Board of Directors, the Technical Standards Committee, the ETCP Council, the ‘Has Been Society’ (ESTA’s Past Presidents), the ESTA Staff and program participants too numerous to mention.

Even with all of this support, the vote to approve this merger does face the challenge that a majority of all voting classifications (Dealer and Rental Company/Manufacturer and Distributor/PSO) must vote AND a majority of those voting must vote in favor of the plan. Andrew Carnegie once said that “you can’t push anyone up the ladder unless he is ready to climb himself.”

What can you expect in the next several weeks?
  • This package of information is being sent to you both electronically and by snail mail;
  • Your comments and questions are welcome between now and April 6th;
  • For those of you attending USITT there will be a special meeting on Wednesday, March 31st from 9-10:30am at the Marriott Kansas City Downtown in room Moten AB dedicated to a discussion of these materials;
  • In mid-April, you will receive a copy of the revised by-laws that would specifically govern PLASA in North America;
• By May 1st, you will receive your ballot regarding the proposed merger and by-law changes;
• Voting will end May 31st;
• The results of the vote will be announced in early June.

William Shakespeare said that “we know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

We have made substantial efforts to provide you with the information and tools that you need. We urge you to make comments and to ask questions if there is anything that you do not understand. Your active and enthusiastic participation in this process is urgently needed to shape the future of our association.

Sincerely,
Bill Groener
Lori Rubinstein

Barco Lays Off More High End Systems Employees, Just in Time for Christmas

barco-pink-slip

I just found out in a round-about way that digital lighting and display company Barco let some more High End Systems employees go last week.  And JUST in time for the holidays, too!  How fantastic.

You know, I am no MBA holder, nor would I know how to conduct a multi-million dollar business, so I won’t.  But I do have to say that it seems to me like you are trying to erase an American lighting icon from the industry altogether.  I have a problem with that.  Does it matter what I think?  More than likely not in this case.  I have a suggestion, though – why don’t you come on over from Belgium and get to know the people and equipment that people like?

The stock picture – six months:

barco-6month-stock

The last two days (December 15-17, 2009):

barco-2day-stock

On November 27, Barco acquired another business entity, FIMI Medical Imaging.  From Reuters:

Dow Jones reported that Barco NV has reached an agreement with Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV about the acquisition of FIMI. Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV is to sell FIMI for EUR 19 million in cash and the agreement includes an earn-out-construction from which it will earn EUR 10 million in the next five years. The transaction is expected to be completed at the end of 2009.

From Barco’s press release:

Eric Van Zele, Barco’s President and CEO, stated: “Our Medical Imaging Division has been performing strongly in recent years both sales and profit-wise. The acquisition of FIMI fits well within the overall growth strategy of the division as it further strengthens our existing product portfolio, opens opportunities in new segments of medical imaging, and strengthens our strategic relationship with Philips.”

Well, I really hope that you’re going to do more with the High End Systems brand. Those people are good people, and you have an asset in Richard Belleveau.  I hope you realize that and understand the entertainment industry before you spill white-out all over history and innovation.  You could be an industry leader.  Don’t forget, they were doing things well way before you.