Black Dragon Capital Acquiring Grass Valley From Belden

Private-equity firm plans to ramp up migration to software-based systems

In a move that appears to bring stability to one of the broadcast industry’s technology heavyweights, Black Dragon Capital has agreed to acquire Grass Valley from Belden. Grass Valley had been in a state of limbo since Belden announced its plans to divest the company in October. Black Dragon, which is led by former Avid CEO Louis Hernandez Jr., plans to accelerate Grass Valley’s transition to software-based tools. There are no immediate changes planned for Grass Valley’s operational management structure, and Tim Shoulders will continue in his role as president. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first quarter.

“We see tremendous opportunity for transformation in the media-technology market and believe that Grass Valley is in an ideal situation to lead the market through these changes, says Hernandez, Black Dragon’s founder and CEO. “Under Belden’s leadership, the Grass Valley solutions portfolio has expanded, and the business has developed a discipline that puts them in the upper quartile of the market in profitability. Black Dragon’s experience leading companies through digital transitions will allow Grass Valley to accelerate the next step in its evolution, bringing more innovative products to market faster.”

Black Dragon Capital’s Louis Hernandez Jr. sees Grass Valley well-positioned to help move content creation toward a digital future.

In his time as CEO of Avid, Hernandez spearheaded the strategy to transition the company’s core product offerings to solutions that enabled smooth and simple content sharing and distribution workflows. Black Dragon, noting that today’s broadcast landscape is in need of a similar shift, sees Grass Valley as a platform to accelerate the industry’s move toward its digital future, increasing investment in technologies and systems that enable new software-based services and pay-as-you-go business models.

Black Dragon takes an advisory approach to the companies in which it invests, and delivers a series of proprietary tools, such as The Black Dragon Playbook, a set of guidelines to create sustainable, market-leading companies. Additionally, the firm has an extensive roster of advisors with a combined century-plus of experience in engineering, content creation, business management, and technology leadership in the media space.

The deal marks the latest in a series of owners for Grass Valley over the past decade. Back in 2014, Belden purchased the business from Francisco Partners, which had acquired Grass Valley from Technicolor in 2011.

Tim Shoulders will remain president of Grass Valley.

“Grass Valley has led the market in the transition from SDI to IP and has been diligently pivoting our product lines to cloud-based and SaaS solutions,” says Shoulders. “Black Dragon brings the expertise and vision that will allow us to accelerate this transition to the benefit of our customers who are looking for more-robust and flexible models for content production and delivery. We’re excited to bring our customers along with us on this journey.”

When Belden announced its plans to divest Grass Valley, Shoulders had envisioned this type of new private-ownership structure that would enable a seamless transition for customers. According to today’s announcement, Grass Valley customers who are invested in current product lines will experience a seamless transition. Grass Valley maintains full control of the supply chain and operational systems to enable on-going support without disruption.

Stay tuned to sportsvideo.org for more coverage of this story in the coming days.