Ericsson is to take a huge step in the UK playout market by buying Red Bee Media for an undisclosed sum.
The deal follow’s the Scandinavian company’s acquisition of Technicolor’s Broadcast Services Division for £15.9m last year. It is still subject to regulatory approval.
Ericsson has agreed to acquire Red Bee Media from private equity investor Macquarie Advanced Investment Partners and the deal will give it operations in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Australia. The move will see 1,500 employees, of which 1,240 are based in the UK, join Ericsson.
In the UK, Red Bee Media has contracts with the BBC, UKTV and recently inked a deal with BT Sport to provide playout for its forthcoming sports channels.
Red Bee also slightyly extended its playout, metadata and interactive services contract with the BBC last month. The deal was due to end in December 2015 but will now run through March 2017.
The aquisition follows Ericsson’s appointment of former Red Bee Media commercial director Ian Brotherston in May. Brotherston was appointed head of its UK broadcast services division and is leading the company broadcast business from its Chiswick Park-headquarters.
“Ericsson is making a step change to our business, cementing our commitment to TV and broadcast services and continuing a journey we started in 2007,” said Magnus Mandersson, executive vice president and head of business unit global services, Ericsson.
“We can create value for broadcasters by making digital content more accessible, enabling monetization of TV content more efficiently. Video traffic shows very strong uptake in the mobile networks and Ericsson can address the need of both broadcasters and telecom operators through our technology expertise and services capabilities.”
Ericsson currently plays out 2,300 hour of content for clients that include ITV and head of broadcasting services Thorsten Sauer said recently that it was planning on a global push into the sector. It recently struck a deal for Microsoft’s IPTV video distribution platform Mediaroom.