Barco buys dZine software firm

July 19, 2010 by Dave Haynes

LED board giant Barco has announced closing a deal to acquire another Belgian firm – the digital signage solutions company dZine.

In a release, Barco said the price tag was less than one time annual sales of dZine, excluding an earn-out provision over the next two and a half years. I don’t have an MBA (I know, this is shocking), but think that means Barco got dZine at a fire sale price. Valuations are more typically something like five times earnings.

Through this acquisition, Barco significantly broadens its current offering of digital visualization products with the addition of advanced software tools for content creation and management, says the release.

Barco’s acquisition of dZine fits within the company’s broader strategy to position itself as a total value-added solutions provider in the digital signage market. “Barco and dZine have a common philosophy of bringing innovative, customer-centric digital signage solutions to the high and mid-range markets via partnerships with leading distributors and resellers. By joining forces, both our companies will be able to open up new sales opportunities, which will strengthen our position in the digital signage market for years to come,” stated Paul Matthijs, Vice President of Barco’s Video and Lighting Solutions Division.

“Bringing Barco’s exceptional hardware know-how and dZine’s extensive content creation and management software expertise together under one roof will offer customers the benefits of a ‘one stop’ solution for their entire digital signage project needs, be it indoor or outdoor,” comments Filip Pintelon, Senior Vice President Barco and President Business Group Media, Entertainment and Simulation.

Founded in 1992, dZine has gained a solid reputation in the digital signage and professional mobile solutions markets. Its products and solutions are widely acclaimed and have been installed in more than 55 countries around the globe. As proof of its capabilities, the company recently won the ‘Best Digital Signage’ Award from a global trade association for marketing at retail, POPAI, for a multi-display digital escalator project.

As of today, dZine’s core team, based in Kortrijk, Belgium, will function as Barco’s center of competence for digital signage technology. Luc Deconinck, General Manager of dZine, stated: “We are excited to join the big Barco family. Teaming up with a globally recognized brand such as Barco will permit us to increase our reach and to extend our existing sales, marketing, and service capabilities.”

This is likely a good deal all around. Barco has been scratching around talking to different software vendors about partnerships, and this gets that work (and baggage) out of the way, and focused on one platform.

For dZine, which has been around a very long time, it certainly doesn’t look like a windfall for the owners but gives them stability and a large, well-connected global sales force. The company has some 40 mouths to feed so month to month operating costs would be substantial.

I looked at dZine’s stuff years ago and thought it was pretty good back then. But the company, as far as I know, has never really had much presence at all in North America.

Leave a comment