Barco acquires High End Systems

June 12, 2008
The Belgium LED display maker says that the deal will solidify its position in the converging video and lighting segments.
Showpix LED display manufacturer Barco has acquired High End Systems, Inc., a Texas-based provider of automated luminaires, digital lighting and lighting controls.

Barco says that the acquisition reinforces its "leadership position" in the fast-converging video and lighting segments. High End Systems will be integrated into Barco’s Media and Entertainment division.

Based in Austin, Texas, High End Systems employs 156 people and is a profitable company with USD 44 million sales in 2007. The total value of the transaction is USD 55 million, which implies an EBITDA multiple of around 8 on the past 12 months. High End Systems, Inc. was majority owned by Generation Partners, a US private equity firm.

Among High End Systems' products are a range of LED luminaires including Showpix, an LED wash light on a moving yoke. It has an 18-inch diameter head featuring a circular array of 127 homogenous 3-watt LEDs with an output of 24,000 RGB lumens.

Eighty percent of High End Systems’ sales are realized in the Events (Rental & Staging) market, which makes it a perfect match for Barco. The Belgian company says it is "already the leader" in four product areas of this market with its LED video displays and Creative LED products, as well as large-venue projectors, and a full range of Image Processing products.

With the growing convergence of lighting and video technologies, the acquisition of High End Systems is a merger of two strong industry players and as a combined force it will hold a leading position in this converged digital video and lighting space, enabling further growth. This is fully in line with the strategic goal of enlarging Barco’s presence in each of the key markets it is active in.

Stephan Paridaen, President of Barco’s Media and Entertainment division states: “We are proud and excited about joining forces with the leading player in the digital lighting market. High End’s differentiated product line-up and recent product introductions are clearly proof of their market-led vision and strong R&D focus. We look forward to introducing many new and exciting products into the converged lighting/video space together.”

“The acquisition is a great outcome for the employees of High End Systems and we are confident that the combined creativity and customer focus of Barco and High End Systems will deliver superior technology for the global entertainment markets” said Merritt Belisle, Chairman of High End Systems, Inc.

The acquisition provides Barco also with an additional patent portfolio in the digital lighting market, along with increased distribution channels and product offerings worldwide. Also, the deal further strengthens Barco’s position in North America, another strategic goal for the European company.