Vizrt Acquires LiberoVision, Eyes Virtual Enhancements for Sports Broadcasts
Vizrt has entered into a terms sheet with Swiss-based virtual sports enhancements provider LiberoVision AG. According to the proposed terms sheet, Vizrt will purchase all of the issued and outstanding share capital of LiberoVision in three installments: 60% upon signing of the definitive agreement, 20% upon approval of the financial statements of LiberoVision for the year 2011 and 20% upon approval of the financial statements of LiberoVision for the year 2012.
The consideration for the first 60% of the issued share capital of LiberoVision will be CHF 6 million (approx. USD 6.12 million) and may be increased by an additional 1 CHF million (approx. USD 1.02 million) should the EBIT for the year 2010 of LiberoVision exceed CHF 1 million. The consideration for each of the additional 20% of the issued share capital of LiberoVision will be calculated as 20% of 10 times the EBIT for the applicable fiscal year. All installments will consist of 80% cash and 20% Vizrt shares.
“LiberoVision brings to Vizrt best of class additional capabilities to enhance sports broadcasts,” says Martin Burkhalter, Vizrt CEO. “Their products allow for live on-air review and analysis of events on the field, also from points of view not captured by cameras, a large and growing market. In creating a seemingly 3D environment for normal 2D broadcasts, this type of analysis provides yet another compelling way to tell a story, a key driver behind all our BG products. Efficiency, another key component, is provided in that LiberoVision’s technology does not require any additional in-stadium infrastructure.”
“It is this ability to provide broadcasters with great additional functionality that makes such a strong case to content owners. It has always been our strategy to help clients increase the economic value of their digital assets and LiberoVision fits seamlessly with this strategy. Integration of both systems will allow us to take the combined offering to our existing customers and attract new ones.”
LiberoVision currently offers two product lines. Libero Highlight provides realistic 3D replays. It enables the broadcaster to move the viewer‘s perspective to areas not covered by the in-stadium cameras, such as over-the-shoulder of the quarterback. Libero Offside was developed for instant offside analysis during soccer games. It is a dedicated application aimed at resolving offsides disputes during soccer games.
Dr. Stephan Würmlin Stadler, CEO for LiberoVision AG, stated, “Many of our clients who are already using Vizrt systems have indicated they would like to see the two systems more closely integrated. Combining our companies therefore seemed to most logical way forward.”
“We bring to the table a technology that differs greatly from other providers in that other systems produce results that clearly look like virtual animations, like avatars. With our virtual instant replay technology, on the other hand, you know that the player is Lionel Messi, it feels like you are there on the field. That realism is due to LiberoVision’s patented image processing technology that transforms the camera feeds into 3D representations. Although certain great and complex technologies can achieve this in a way that is pixel perfect, it takes two days to do so. In our markets, no one is interested in two days. We can do it instantly.
“We see great opportunities in joining forces with Vizrt, as it will allow both organsiations to expand their product offering to a large and growing customer base. We at LiberoVision are very excited to pursue these opportunities as part of the Vizrt organisation, which has proven to be commercially very successful and, like us, is very driven by innovation, quality and customer requirements.”
As part of the transaction, the founders of LiberoVision are committed to continue their employment with LiberoVision for a period of at least two years.
The transaction is subject to a financial and legal due diligence to Vizrt’s satisfaction and the parties reaching a definitive agreement.