Advent Venture and LDC close £72m broadcasting merger

LDC and Advent Venture Partners have completed a £72m (€81m) merger of broadcasting technology businesses Snell & Wilcox and Pro-Bel.

Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC provided a £25m debt package for the transaction.

Snell & Wilcox was acquired in a £22m buyout by Advent Venture Partners. LDC initially bought Pro-Bel in November 2003 in an £11m MBO. The enlarged business will have a combined turnover of £80m and employ 450 staff.

The merger will see LDC and Advent together hold a majority shareholding, with the management team holding just more than 20 per cent. Kevan Leggett and Steve Carle from LDC and Peter Baines from Advent Venture Partners will join the new company’s board, alongside non-executive chairman Gavin Simonds.

The two companies, both headquartered in the UK, design hardware and software for the broadcasting industries to enhance the quality of content in production and post-production.

Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Turner, BBC, C4, NBC, CCTV (China) and HBO all use products from the two companies.

The businesses have worked on a number of high-profile projects, including supplying equipment to broadcasters operating at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship and supporting the multimedia aspects of Led Zeppelin’s reunion show in December 2007.
The global broadcast equipment sector is estimated to be worth over $25bn (€19.7bn) and is forecast to grow by 10 per cent per annum over the next four years.