NeuLion Reorganizes Executive Team; Acquires Saffron Digital

Posted by Josh Stinehour
Jun 23 2016

NeuLion, a technology product and service provider for digital distribution, announced several executive management changes along with the acquisition of London-based Saffron Digital.NeuLion,_Inc_-729822400065

Dr. Kanaan Jemili resigned from the position of President and CEO, though will remain as a consultant with the Company.  Roy Reichback, NeuLion’s General Counsel and a member of the board of directors, has been promoted to the position of President and CEO.

NeuLion’s Chief Financial Officer Art McCarthy also resigned his position at NeuLion.  Trevor Renfield will replace Mr. McCarthy as the new Chief Financial Officer.  Mr. Renfield had previously served as the Chief Financial Officer at DivX, which was acquired by NeuLion in February 2015.

Nancy Li, a co-founder of NeuLion, was promoted to Executive Chair of the NeuLion board and will continue to focus on technology development and product strategy.  Charles Wang will step down from his position of Chairman of the Board, though will remain a member of the board of directors.

NeuLion’s SEC filings on the management reorganization states the “changes were not the result of any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices, or with the audit committee or the Company’s auditors.”

Separate to the management changes, NeuLion announced the acquisition of Saffron Digital, a video delivery platform company.  It was an all cash transaction.  Terms were not disclosed.

This is the third acquisition of Saffron Digital since its founding in 2006.

Smartphone manufacturer HTC acquired Saffron for $48.3 million in February 2011.  Based on 2010 revenue performance, the deal value equated to a revenue multiple of 5.5x.

HTC subsequently divested Saffron ahead of the 2013 IBC Show to Toronto-based DVD and CD manufacturer Cinram.  Cinram was backed by the Najafi Companies, a private investment firm.  The stated value of the 2013 transaction was $47 million.  As reported by Focus Taiwan, the acquisition consideration consisted of $7.5 million up front cash with an additional $39.5 million over the next five years.  HTC also maintained royalty free rights to Saffron’s intellectual property.

According to its UK filings, Saffron’s revenue performance declined from $19.8 million in 2012 to $14.7 million in 2014.  The resulting impact on after tax profits was considerable.  During the same period Saffron went from generating an after tax profit to losing more than $5 million in 2014.

In the press release announcing the transaction, the cited acquisition rationale was the opportunity to expand NeuLion’s entertainment customer concentration and enhance its technology offering to better support video on demand services.  Customers using Saffron Digital’s platform include Carrefour, BT, Deutsche Telecom, iTV, Tribeca Films, and Vidity.  All of Saffron’s employees (more than 50) are joining NeuLion.

Commenting on the transaction, Jason Keane, CEO for Saffron Digital stated, “We are excited to join NeuLion.  As part of NeuLion, we can now offer our customers a compelling OTT platform for all premium digital content with support for all types of business models.”

Roy Reichbach, President and Chief Executive Officer for NeuLion added,  “The integrated company can offer owners and rights holders of sports and entertainment a complete end to end solution for both live and on demand content that is a clear market leader.”

 

 

Related Content: 

NeuLion Press Release on Management Changes  

NeuLion Press Release on Saffron Digital Acquisition

 

 

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