Belden Continues Acquisition Run With Deal for Snell Advanced Media, Which Will Shift to Grass Valley Brand

SAM’s operations will be merged with Grass Valley’s, headquartered in Montreal

Belden has closed a deal with banker Lloyds Development Capital (LDC) to acquire Snell Advanced Media (SAM), continuing a long line of acquisitions in recent years. SAM’s operations will move under the Grass Valley umbrella, and the SAM brand name will be discontinued, although some specific SAM product brands will remain. Grass Valley President Tim Shoulders will oversee the combined company, which will be headquartered at Grass Valley offices in Montreal. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Belden has added six major broadcast-equipment companies to its portfolio since 2009: SAM, ThinkLogical in 2017, Grass Valley in 2014, Softel in 2013, Miranda Technologies in 2012, and Telecast Fiber Systems in 2009.

“With this investment, Belden again demonstrates our commitment to the broadcast industry. Adding SAM’s employees and products to the Grass Valley family extends Grass Valley’s global reach, makes us more agile, and provides even more domain expertise to enhance Grass Valley’s industry-leading solutions,” Shoulders said in a statement. “Our customers face competition and uncertainty like never before. This transaction will help them navigate the technology options available to them, [reduce] concerns around interoperability and deployment complexity, while providing them greater access to the innovators developing the solutions of tomorrow.”

According to Grass Valley spokesperson David Cohen, more-specific details about the newly formed entity will be available at the NAB Show in April. Although the SAM brand will go by the wayside, specific product brands in the company’s portfolio will remain; however, those brands have not yet been identified. At NAB 2018, the newly combined company will have a single exhibit at Grass Valley’s traditional position near the front of South Lower Hall at the LVCC. Cohen says the company’s focus in the near term will be to keep employees and customers informed, with NAB 2018 serving as the more public “coming-out party” for the new Grass Valley.

SAM CEO Eric Cooney will stay on in an advisory role and work with the integration team focused on creating a smooth transition in combining the two organizations. No details were provided regarding the future of SAM’s Newbury, UK, headquarters or its 550 employees worldwide.

“The team at SAM has worked hard over the last several years to create world-class products that have met or exceed the needs of our target customers,” Cooney said in a statement. “SAM is very energized by the loyalty of those customers, and we thank them for helping us get to this point. We believe that becoming part of the Grass Valley family within Belden helps us offer customers an even greater opportunity to continue growing with us. And, with the backing of Belden, our company has the stability and resources that industry demands to continue innovating and meet the competition head on.”

Belden/Grass Valley sees the deal providing it with an even larger pallet of tools to help broadcasters and content creators navigate a rapidly changing media landscape. As broadcast customers look to evolve their technological infrastructure and business models to stay competitive, they are migrating more toward IP-enabled solutions, multiplatform delivery, 4K and HDR, and other next-gen technologies. Look for the expanded Grass Valley to leverage its combined product portfolio to confront these market demands in the coming years.

In addition, the acquisition boosts Grass Valley’s global footprint. Cohen says the deal will extend the company’s overall reach and enhance in-region support for its global customer base.

Expect the IP transition to factor heavily into the product plans and messaging of the new company. Both Grass Valley and SAM are full members of AIMS and have been outspoken proponents of IP-enabled solutions in recent years.

For deeper analysis on how the Grass Valley-SAM deal looks to impact the broadcast industry as a whole, check out Devoncroft’s in-depth coverage.

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