Grass Valley Acquires PubliTronic

Grass Valley has acquired PubliTronic, a privately-held Dutch company that provides multichannel, integrated, automated playout solutions.

PubliTronic will become a new division at Grass Valley called Media Playout Systems and PubliTronic products will form the basis for a new product family, the K2 Edge, which will be focused on integrated playout solutions.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

In announcing the deal, Alain Andreoli, president and CEO of Grass Valley, noted that it was the second Grass Valley acquisition this year and stressed that the acquisition illustrates how "the new ownership is investing in the future of this company."

PubliTronic, based in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, began operations in 1997 by developing some of the earliest integrated playout solutions and has been primarily focused on the European market.

Grass Valley executives expect PubliTronic to help them tap into growing demand by broadcasters and multichannel operators for cost effective solutions to launch and playout additional digital channels, a dynamic that has made integrated playout solutions one of the fastest growing segments in the broadcasting equipment market.

"When we decided to expand our playout offerings to include an integrated approach, we had a choice: do it on our own or invest through an acquisition," noted Andreoli. "As we learned more about PubliTronic's technology and people, it became very clear that a combination of our talents and resources could allow us to offer innovative and compelling products to our customers quickly."

"This second acquisition this year after Evolution, exemplifies our strategy of entering fast growing, new segments to take full advantage of all opportunities, as it presented a key growth opportunity for the K2 server family and Grass Valley," he added.

Harold Vermeulen, who has been appointed VP of the new Media Playout Solutions unit at Grass Valley and the founder and former managing director of PubliTronic, noted that they had seen significant success in Europe. But the company, which has about 32 employees, faced challenges in expanding their operations internationally and had been looking for partners.

"This acquisition by Grass Valley is great for PubliTronic's customers as the entire team in Apeldoorn can now enjoy the resources of a true multi-national company, complete with deep knowledge in video and server technologies," Vermeulen noted.

Besides taping into a fast growing segment, the deal would "help to quickly extend the K2 media server product family," and "help to deliver more complete solutions to our customers more quickly," noted Charlie Dunn, executive VP, products and general manager, Editing, Servers & Storage Product Group for Grass Valley.

Grass Valley is planning to offer the K2 Edge in three levels: K2 Edge Express, for entry-level channels with minimal graphics needs; K2 Edge Pro, with more sophisticated graphics such as picture-in-picture; and K2 Edge Elite systems, which offer switching for up to four HD sources and multichannel 2D and 3D graphics complete with DVE moves including credit squeeze.

Pricing will vary with capabilities, but a fully integrated channel solution will start at $25,000. Delivery of products is expected to begin in November.