Last month, Harris Corporation sold off it’s broadcast division to a private equity firm. As you may be aware, Harris Invenio is one of the Media Asset Management products evaluated in our Broadcast and Media Asset Management stream. Before I dwell on the implications for current/potential customers, the back story first.
The broadcast business unit of Harris that’s been sold off had about 1700 employees (including about 200 employees in the Invenio brand). In May of last year, the parent Harris Corporation announced its intent to focus on its core defense/military businesses and divest the broadcast division before the turn of the calendar year – so last month’s sale is not really a surprise.
What’s interesting though is the buyer. The new owner is The Gores Group, a private equity group which did not have any investments in the broadcast space prior to this. That might sound like a bad thing for customers, but usually when financial investors make greenfield investments in a sector, they don’t stir the pot too much. They tend to let the current management lead ongoing operations. So, perhaps there may not be too much destabilizing – which is a good for you as a customer.
However, PE firms also have shorter time frames in which they want to recoup their investments – so we can expect another changing of hands in the next few years. Of course, the broadcast division can go public and provide an exit to the PE investors and manage to stay on as a separate entity but that’s not the most common path we usually see.
If a trade buyer (i.e. another broadcast technology company) had acquired Harris Broadcasting, it would have resulted in more near-term uncertainty about product roadmaps – but in the medium to long term, greater clarity of where the technology is going. The current acquisition by the PE investor likely brings less near-term uncertainty, but potentially more long term uncertainty – because they will be scouting for a buyer for the asset three years down the road.
As to the Invenio technology itself, you can subscribe to our MAM research to get access to an in-depth comparative evaluation.