By Corey Moss
I will be having a followup conversation relating to this acquisition and more with Altia Systems’ CEO Aurangzeb Khan shortly. Stay tuned.
The following news was reported on Feb. 19th:
GN extends intelligent audio solutions leadership with digital video to deliver integrated audio and video Unified Communication solutions
GN Audio has signed an agreement to acquire Altia Systems Inc. (“Altia Systems”). Altia Systems, based in Cupertino, California (USA), is a leading innovative developer of premium video communications solutions utilizing digital multi-camera array technology. This market is expected to grow significantly from a currently low penetration rate fueled by easy to use (plug and play), integrated audio and video Unified Communications solutions. The products from Altia Systems are currently marketed under the brand PanaCast.
GN Audio is an established leader in intelligent audio solutions for the CC&O (Call Center & Offices) market, operating under the Jabra and BlueParrott brands. GN Audio professional headsets and speakerphones are engineered to help businesses achieve productivity improvement, enhancing job satisfaction and enabling people to work smarter and more efficiently.
The total purchase consideration is up to USD $125 million on a debt and cash free basis. As part hereof around USD $12 million is linked to retention agreements to be expensed by GN Audio during 2019-2021.
The acquisition of Altia Systems allows GN Audio to expand into integrated audio and video communications solutions, supporting companies’ collaboration and meeting efficiency. GN Audio already commands a strong position in the Unified Communications market with the Jabra Evolve line of headphones and leadership in speakerphones for small meeting rooms and personal use with the successful Jabra Speak line of products. Adding video capability to these leading positions gives GN Audio immediate access to the highly attractive market of integrated audio and video solutions for small collaboration rooms – so-called huddle rooms.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement to acquire Altia Systems,” said René Svendsen-Tune, President and CEO of GN Audio. “The acquisition further strengthens our unique value proposition by delivering leading integrated audio and video communications. Combining GN Audio’s sound expertise, partner eco-system and global channel access with the video technology from Altia Systems, we will take the experience of conference calls to a completely new level.”
“Combining PanaCast’s immersive, intelligent video with GN Audio’s intelligent audio solutions will enable us to deliver a whole new class of collaboration products for our customers,” said Aurangzeb Khan, President and CEO of Altia Systems. “PanaCast’s solutions enable companies to improve meeting participants’ experience, automate workflows, and enhance business efficiency and real estate utilization with data lakes of valid information.”
“Intel invested in Altia Systems to bring an industry leading immersive, Panoramic-4K camera experience to business video collaboration,” said Dave Flanagan, Vice President of Intel Corporation and Senior Managing Director of Intel Capital. “Over the past few years, Altia Systems has collaborated with Intel to use AI and to deliver more intelligent conference rooms and business meetings. This helps customers make better decisions, automate workflows and improve business efficiency. We are excited to work with GN to further scale this technology on a global basis.”
In recent years, GN has built a solid track record of successful acquisitions. In October 2016, GN Audio acquired VXi, a US based leading innovative manufacturer of professional headset solutions. In July 2016, GN Hearing completed the acquisition of Audigy, a pre-eminent provider of business and performance management solutions to independent hearing care professionals and leading University programs in North America. In May, 2018, GN Audio acquired a majority stake in Innova Telecom, a major distributor in India. In June 2018, GN invested in a partnership with audEERING, the German AI technology company focused on soundscape and voice analyses.
Altia Systems, which was founded in 2011, will under GN Audio’s ownership initiate global commercialization of its highly differentiated current products as well as invest in its exciting product pipeline. More that 1,600 companies, including more than 200 universities, use PanaCast products around the world. Current customers include Intel and Uber. Altia Systems is a venture-backed company with Intel Capital as a leading investor. An identified group of key people from Altia Systems will continue to lead our Cupertino based development activities following the transaction.
The agreement to acquire Altia Systems is contingent on certain customary closing conditions.
About GN Group
The GN Group is a global leader in intelligent audio solutions that let you hear more, do more and be more than you ever thought possible. Our ambitious 150-year journey has taken us from telegraph cables to radio waves and intelligent audio engineering. To celebrate our anniversary, we look to our unique competences within medical, professional and consumer audio solutions to help us continue to transform lives through the power of sound.
GN was founded with a truly innovative and global mindset. Today, we honor that legacy with world-leading expertise in the human ear, sound, wireless technology, miniaturization and collaborations with leading technology partners. GN’s solutions are marketed by the brands ReSound, Beltone, Interton, Jabra and BlueParrott in 100 countries. Founded in 1869, the GN Group employs more than 6,000 people and is listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen (GN.CO).
About Altia Systems
Altia Systems® is a venture-backed company based in Cupertino, CA., and is the creator of the PanaCast® systems and Intelligent Vision software products. Funded by Intel Capital and other leading investors, Altia Systems’ PanaCast solutions deliver real-time 180° Panoramic-4K, Panoramic-5K and 4K 3D video streams from integrated, synchronized and optimized multi-camera arrays. PanaCast systems and Intelligent Vision (artificial intelligence) software products are used by more than 1,600 companies worldwide, including 200+ universities, for video collaboration, education, AR/VR, live broadcasting and machine learning for autonomous systems. PanaCast system devices are designed and assembled in the U.S. and have received prestigious awards such as CES Innovation Awards Honoree, Frost & Sullivan New Product Innovation, GOOD DESIGN award, Gartner Cool Vendor in Unified Communications, and more.