Broadcast Vendor M&A: Quantel Acquires Snell

Posted by Joe Zaller
Mar 12 2014

Quantel has announced that it will acquire fellow UK-based broadcast technology vendor Snell.

The combined company will have revenue of more than $170 million and office in 16 locations around the globe, making it one of the larger vendors in the broadcast industry.

The enlarged company will be called Quantel and headquartered in Newbury UK, Quantel’s current HQ. According to an FAQ issued by the company, all existing products from Snell and Quantel will continue, and the Snell brand will remain.

Quantel CEO Ray Cross will lead the enlarged company.

Current Snell CEO Simon Derry will exit the business after acting helping to support the integration of the two companies for several months.

Paul Martin, Managing Director of the Snell TV Everywhere division and Rob Rowe, Managing Director of the Snell Live TV division will join the Quantel board, and Tim Banks, Snell Sales Director and Peter Fredericks, Snell Finance Director are also taking leading roles in the new combined organization.

 

UK-based Companies Have Little Product Overlap

Quantel and Snell are both based in the UK, and have a significant presence in many international markets.  Both companies are viewed as high-end players in the market, with good reputations for quality, reliability, and customer service.

Although the two companies have many common customers, they have virtually no overlapping product lines. Quantel focuses on post-production graphics and color grading systems, as well as enterprise-class networked editing systems, and media asset management.  Snell is known for production switchers, signal processing gear, playout automation, and channel-in-a-box products.

Both companies have UK-based R&D and manufacturing facilities, which will likely be rationalized over the course of time, resulting in significant cost savings for the combined entity. “We will be creating a new world-class facility at the company headquarters in Newbury to produce the complete Quantel and Snell product range and we look forward to the new ideas generated when the two R&D teams start to interact,” said Quantel CEO Ray Cross.

 

Common Parent Combines Broadcast Holdings

The combination of Quantel and Snell was long-rumored in the industry, since the two companies already had a common parent, Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), the investment arm of Lloyds Bank.

LDC has held a majority stake in both Quantel and Snell for a number of years, so a primary driver for the deal was likely the internal consolidation of LDC’s long-time holdings in the broadcast technology space, creating a larger, more efficient business, with greater operating leverage.

The complementary nature of the respective Quantel and Snell product portfolios should allow the enlarged company to continue serving the needs of customers, while realizing significant cost savings through the combination of R&D and manufacturing facilities, trade show booths, regional offices, etc.

This is similar to the approach outlined last month when Belden announced it will purchase Grass Valley for $220 million, and combined it with Miranda Technologies, which it already owns.  In 2012, Belden acquired Miranda for approximately $350 million.

Like Quantel and Snell, the combined Miranda and Grass Valley have limited product overlap and many common customers. Belden’s management has said it believes significant cost savings can be achieved by rationalizing duplicate functions within the combined company.

LDC acquired Quantel in July 2000, when it funded the company’s £51 million management buyout (MBO) from Carlton Communications.

In 2009, LDC created Snell when it funded the £72 million merger of Snell & Wilcox and Pro-Bel, in a deal supported by a £25 million package of senior debt and working capital facilities provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC. After the merger, the combined company was renamed Snell.

LDC acquired Pro-Bel in 2003 when it funded an £11.2 million MBO from Chyron.

Prior to its merger with Pro-Bel, Snell & Wilcox was owned by Advent Ventures who had funded its £22 million management buy-out in 2002.

Both Quantel and Snell are private companies, so their individual revenue figures are not disclosed publicly.

A report published immediately after the merger of Pro-Bel and Snell & Wilcox in 2009  said Snell had revenue £80m and employed 450 staff; and in 2011 Snell CEO Simon Derry said in an interview that the company’s revenue was “greater than $130 million.”

According to its website, Quantel “employs around 300 people, and operates sales and support subsidiaries in the USA, Canada, Latin America, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and throughout mainland Europe.”

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Related Content:

Press Release: Quantel acquires Snell to create new force in media technology

Quantel – Snell FAQ

Broadcast Vendor M&A: Belden Buys Grass Valley for $220 Million

Belden’s Acquisition of Miranda to Close on or Before July 27, 2012

TVNewsCheck Article (9-29-2011): Tech One-on-One With Simon Derry — Snell Aims To Master the U.S. Market

Advent Venture and LDC close £72m broadcasting merger

Advent Venture Partners and LDC Complete Their Portfolios Merger – March 9, 2009

Video: Pro-Bel and Snell & Wilcox CEOs Discuss Merger (2009)

Press Release (11-6-2003): Chyron Sells Pro-Bel to LDC

Broadcast Magazine (2002): Snell Secures £22m from Advent

Press Release (2002) Advent Venture Partners invests GBP13m in Snell & Wilcox

Variety Article (7-14-2000): Carlton sells tech arm Quantel to LDC for £51 million 

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