STRATACACHE Buys IZ-ON Media & Big Retail Footprint

July 1, 2015 by Dave Haynes


STRATACACHE has acquired IZ-ON Media, the company formerly and arguably better known as PRN, picking it up in a cash deal with its French owners Technicolor.

izon_logoThe deal gives the Dayton, Ohio company – which is evolving into a lot more than a software CMS firm – a big footprint in many of the top retailers in the United States, including Costco, Kroger, Rite Aid, Target, Walmart and BJ’s. IZ-ON also has contracts with HIGI and Pursuant/SoloHealth (health kiosks).

PRN started out as screens selling ads in mass merchandise stores, but has turned more into a specialist in in-store digital shopper marketing solutions. The buy includes all existing relationships with the retailers.

“The acquisition of IZ-ON Media complements our growing shopper marketing practice,” says Chris Riegel, STRATACACHE’s CEO, Founder and sole owner.

stratlogo“Their deep expertise in driving consumer engagement through rich digital experiences at the point of influence,” adds Riegel, “and their ability to help retailers unlock new revenue streams will significantly increase the value that STRATACACHE brings to our clients. The IZ-ON Media acquisition is key in our quest to double top-line revenue in the next three years.”

IZ-ON Media, says the news release on the deal, helps retailers and brands build customer loyalty by focusing on three key areas – Consumer Experience, Shopper Technology and Insights and Network Operations. Retailers amplify shopper marketing initiatives and brands deliver customized messaging through a suite of in-store communications platforms – TV Wall, Radio, Checkout TV, Health and Wellness, and interactive touchscreens. This strategic messaging allows retailers to add relevance to the in-store experience and brands to speak directly to targeted consumers while creating new revenue streams for the retailers.

“The IZ-ON Media team is very excited about becoming a part of STRATACACHE,” says Kevin Carbone, CEO of IZ-ON Media. “IZ-ON Media and STRATACACHE both deliver in-store solutions that position retailers and brands for success. Working together will enable us to develop additional solutions that are even more effective at engaging and activating highly sought after audiences.”

IZ-ON is based in San Francisco, while STRATACACHE is Dayton, Ohio. The company has about 60 people.

It’s the latest milestone on what is a pretty interesting company timeline. The company started as Premier Retail Networks (PRN) way back in 1992, first doing music previews and then starting the massive network of TVs hanging from Walmart ceilings.

In 2005 – 10 years ago – the French consumer electronics giant Thomson spent a whopping $285 million to buy PRN. By early 2009, in the midst of the recession, Thomson said PRN was for sale, but later pulled it off the table. Thomson turned into Technicolor in a re-branding, and the company has been run from France since then.

In 2012, PRN was re-launched as IZ-ON Media, and until today belonged to Technicolor’s Consumer Ventures Group.

I’d imagine the folks around the IZ-ON offices are pretty spanking happy to have an owner on this side of the pond, and one as sharp as Riegel. If you know Chris at all, you know he has through the years grown to really know retail, and he clearly sees this buy as a way to crack a lot of new retail business.

The folks at IZ-ON get a new owner who will be intensely interested, and fully versed, in what they do, why and how. Riegel, via the deal, gets a potential of something like 15,000 new sites for the installed base of his firm’s Activia platform.

Riegel has built his growing empire up through acquisition. The flagship product – the software CMS – was acquired from Activia Networks more than a decade ago. Since then, Riegel has added businesses that do content distribution, caching software, interactive mall and event advertising, specialty display and gaming signs.

I’m thinking Riegel didn’t pay anything like $285M for IZ-ON. More likely well less than 10% of that.

UPDATE: Technicolor filings show the final sale price was $1.65 million.

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