Ericsson buys Red Bee Media

Ericsson has agreed to buy TV technology and media services company Red Bee Media, in its latest push into the broadcast space.

The deal will see Ericsson buy UK-based Red Bee from Macquarie Advanced Investment Partners, adding 1,500 employees, as well as media services and operations facilities in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Australia.

Ericssson said this will further strengthen its broadcast services business, which it started in 2007 and expanded in 2012 with the acquisition of Technicolor’s Broadcast Services Division. Earlier this year, Ericsson also acquired Microsoft’s IPTV platform business Mediaroom, in a deal that it said would give it more than 25% of the IPTV and multi-screen solutions market.

Speaking to TBI sister publication DTVE, Thorsten Sauer, head of broadcast services, Ericsson, said that since the Technicolor deal, “we’ve been looking at how we can extend our offering to the market, because we believe that besides the content management and playout services that we currently provide, we feel that we want to have a broader service offering to our customers – to content owners, to content aggregators”.

He added that the deal would allow Ericsson to strengthen its broadcast services business and to add complimentary services in the areas of IP delivery of video and editorial metadata – “an area where Red Bee is a leader in Europe, and an area I believe will be of increasing importance going forwards, both for broadcasters and for everyone who is offering video-on-demand services.”

Ericsson said that on the completion of the deal, its UK business will grow to around 4,000 employees,with more than one-third working in the media services business. This will establish the UK as a “global media hub for Ericsson.”

“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,” says Magnus Mandersson, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Unit Global Services, Ericsson.

Red Bee was founded in 2005 and provides a range of media services, including media asset management, playout and digital video publishing, metadata services, multilingual access services and creative services to major broadcasters and broadband platforms. It also delivers more than 100,000 hours of subtitling per year for leading broadcasters.

The deal was agreed for undisclosed terms and is expected to close later this year, pending regulatory approval. Sauer said it was not yet clear whether the Red Bee brand would remain post-takeover.

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