Harris Divesting Broadcast Division (Which Includes Digital Signage)

May 1, 2012 by Dave Haynes

Harris has announced it is selling its Broadcast division, which includes its digital signage group.

I don’t have an MBA or accounting designation so I am just going to quote:

In connection with the process of evaluating strategic alternatives for Broadcast Communications, the company recorded in the third quarter a non-cash charge of $407 million after-tax, or $3.62 per diluted share, to write down a significant portion of the goodwill and other long-lived assets in Broadcast Communications, resulting in the GAAP loss from continuing operations. Following the close of the quarter, the company approved a plan to divest Broadcast Communications. As a result, current and prior period financial results for Broadcast Communications will be reported as discontinued operations beginning with the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.

Business is good with the divisions doing RF Communications, Government Communications Systems and  Integrated Network Solutions, but not so much with the broadcast group. “The decision to divest Broadcast Communications resulted from a thorough review of our business portfolio, which determined that the business is no longer aligned with the company’s long-term strategy. The plan to sell these assets supports our disciplined approach to capital allocation, and we intend to use the proceeds to return cash to shareholders and invest in growing our core businesses.”

There have been lotsa rumors about what was shaking in Denver, where the digital signage and digital out of home business is operated – including word of resumes circulating from key people. The Infocaster software platform has been around for many, many years, and is very good. But as often noted, this is a very crowded market.

I don’t know, but can’t possibly imagine the 7-Eleven TV thing being anything but an enormous ball and chain. The question was not with the job Harris did in rolling it out at an extraordinary pace, but whether there really was a business for third-party ads in 7-Elevens.

Definitely don’t know how this will play out, and who would be a buyer for Harris Broadcast. Digital signage is a teeny business unit so it might survive, might get wound down. Unfortunately, my money would be on the latter.

The PR folks are saying the plans have no impact on Harris clients and employees, and it is business as usual at all levels – with the broadcast division part of Harris Corp. until the assets are sold.

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