D3, Southpaw Live Merge Their LED Businesses

August 25, 2020 by Dave Haynes

A pair of well-established direct view LED companies have merged, creating what they’re touting as a “powerful mix of the best minds in LED engineering,” developing a proprietary American product line.

The merger is between Texas-based Southpaw Live and California-based D3 LED. Located in suburban Dallas, Southpaw has been around for 30 years and focuses on sports and entertainment, while Sacramento’s D3 works in areas like OOH, corporate lobbies and retail.

It is not all that clear to me if one company bought the other, or what. The explanation I got was: “It’s a financial exchange between the two companies.” Which … means … something.

That said, it’s increasingly rare to get details on how a deal worked.

From the announcement:

The partnership augments both companies’ strategy of being the “First Choice” by providing world class client engagement and delivering iconic visual experiences.

Southpaw Live has roots going back 30 years in Texas and has evolved over time into an industry leading LED company in the sports and entertainment space. Southpaw has a proven track record of developing deep relationships with customers and transforming customer feedback into actionable engineering improvements and continuously driving innovation. Over the last 30 years, Southpaw’s team has designed and installed some of the most prominent LED solutions in professional, collegiate, minor league, and high school sports as well as entertainment spectaculars across the country.

Southpaw’s strengths extend to all aspects of LED including engineering, control room equipment, and service, positioning it as a market leader in LED integration and service. Southpaw’s extensive client portfolio showcases its commitment to ingenuity, innovation, work ethic, and a service-first mentality in order to create lasting value for its customers.

Southpaw a couple of years ago acquired the Live Events group of Panasonic Sports and Entertainment Business Unit, which specializes in LED video board solutions. But the company has been doing sports replay and scoreboards forever. 

D3 LED I know well, having done an LED factory tour in Taiwan and China  with a couple of execs, going back three years or so.

For over 14 years, D3 has organically developed an extensive line of American assembled LED products in its cutting-edge manufacturing facility in California. D3 offerings range from fine-pitch indoor products, weather-resistant outdoor products, proprietary control room systems, proactive monitoring and reporting tools to detect and prevent outages, and other patented solutions.

D3 has created an impressive portfolio of LED landmarks around the globe with Fortune 500 companies and services premier, world-renowned brands in over a dozen countries.

The combined strengths of D3’s product development and Southpaw’s design and solutions- based engineering will catapult them to the top of the industry for deployment of large scale indoor and outdoor LED display solutions for end users.

Southpaw’s Kevin Kelley will serve as the CEO and President of the combined organization and D3’s George Pappas will serve as COO.

“Experience has shown me that the truly successful partnerships start with corporate cultures that fit,” says Kelley. “As it relates to Southpaw and D3, we have that special and powerful synergy. We intend to strategically offer our customers a simplified solution to their needs by offering products and services that combine to provide the unique fit our clients deserve. Our business model is set up for long term sustainability and will allow us to provide superior capabilities throughout the life of each project with which we have been entrusted.”

“This is a game-changer for both D3 and for the industry,” adds Pappas. “We look forward to immediately expanding our reach with innovative displays and our industry leading control room software to an even broader group of clients.”

Together, Southpaw and D3 will offer a full spectrum of industry leading LED products and services through engineering, manufacturing, installation, service, event support, content management and financing options in order to become the First Choice in LED.

The companies have powerful complementary strengths and will create an All-Star team of talent whose sum will be greater than the collective parts, augmented by strong backing through its commercial bank and investment partners.

Interesting move. The big sports and entertainment market is increasingly about the sheer scale of displays, while the markets D3 serves tends to be much more about pixel pitch and resolution. It is D3’s LED tech driving that incredible Netflix HQ lobby, and the company has also supplied the lion’s share of the big LED feature walls you see in the minimalist design stores of a global electronics brand they’re not allowed to talk about.

Increasingly, fine pitch direct view is finding its way outside the seating bowls of sports and entertainment venues, so having a blended solution that can do everything from a massive scoreboard to large format sponsor-branding poster walls in the concourses enables them to compete with the likes of Samsung and Daktronics.

The two companies are more like parallel players than direct competitors, so there would be all kinds of complementary benefits of coming together.

At the moment, both brands continue as their own entities, but that will likely change. 


Leave a comment