Barco Buys X2O Media In $21M Deal

March 19, 2014 by Dave Haynes

Barco_X2OThe Belgian display firm Barco has acquired Montreal’s X2O Media in a $21M (CDN$) cash deal.

“X2O Media perfectly complements our offering and skills portfolio, and is an important step in our strategy to expand our portfolio beyond video and imaging,” says Eric Van Zele, CEO of Barco in today’s announcement. “Customers’ expectations regarding workflow and content management shift to end-to-end and easy-to-use visualization systems and cloud-based solutions. X2O Media’s platform will play a crucial role in allowing Barco to tap into these new opportunities, while differentiating itself further from competition. The X2O software platform versatility, and its capability to address any display – be it fixed or mobile – will prove to be an important asset and allows Barco to link any content from any media to any device.”

Barco suggests picking up X2O helps the company move beyond display and projection technology, “expanding the portfolio with a complete solution to deliver enhanced and cross-divisional content distribution and workflow, based on advanced networking and connectivity capabilities.

You’re a better man than I if you can decode that biz-speak stew.

X2O Media will be “integrated in the Barco organization as a business venture” – which means I’m not sure what. Maybe that the brand will be retained but also tagged as a Barco company???

The release suggests sales and service will come out of Barco’s global team, which makes sense. Barco posted sales of 1.158 billion euros in 2013.

X2O Media was established in 2006 as a spin-off from VertigoXmedia, which was heavy into broadcast graphics automation. The company has always had a strong product and CEO David Wilkins is a nice, sharp guy that I assume Barco wants hanging around. Like a lot of CEOs in this space, CEO also means lead sales guy/product ambassador at X2O.

“We are pleased to be welcomed at a major company like Barco, which will hugely expand our market reach,” says Wilkins, President and CEO of X2O Media. “Barco is a technology company with a focus on visualization infrastructure and image quality. Adding X2O Media’s application software and workflow focused capabilities, will allow both companies to go to the market with a more comprehensive offering. At the moment, our market is limited to North America, but benefiting from Barco’s global network we will be able to grow our activities worldwide.”

The news release says X2O Media posted sales of $5 million last year and has about 40 people on staff. So the deal is a 4X multiple of sales, but I’m not convinced you’re making money at $5M with that headcount and overhead.  The company was backed by the Montreal VC firm Propulsion Ventures. 

I have heard for many years that X2O was available to the right buyer, which makes sense given the VC money behind it. I’m not sure how much money Propulsion has put in through the years, but this would not have been a make or break deal for the fund. Propulsion is part of Montreal’s Telesystem, which has made billions though the years from selling companies such as Microcell and Teleglobe.

Slightly curious deal for Barco, which in July 2010 bought the Belgian digital signage software firm dZine.  I don’t know that product at all, but in the broadest terms the Barco sals team now has two variations of the same thing to peddle.

Leave a comment