The deal to turn Ericsson Media Solutions into an independent company has not been closed yet (sign-off is scheduled for the end of Q3) but the brand name for the new entity was revealed this week: MediaKind. The ‘Kind’ part of the compound name is taken from ‘humankind’ and reflects the idea that media should inspire and unite humankind.
The solutions portfolio within MediaKind includes contribution video processing (encoding/decoding); direct-to-home video processing (broadcast and OTT/multiscreen); multiscreen and set-top box television platforms (from the Mediaroom and MediaFirst stable), VOD, time-shift and cloud DVR, and systems management. The company has 900 media customers globally and these include nine of the top ten service providers in the telco, cable and satellite markets. Eight of the top ten global broadcast groups are using MediaKind solutions.
We should not expect any surprises from MediaKind relating to its current entertainment technology roadmap although, as with most media vendors, OTT is viewed as a big part of the future. Angel Ruiz, CEO of MediaKind, did make it clear that the company has its sights on the market for video in the smart and connected city. Ericsson’s continued 49% ownership is viewed as a strength when focusing on mobility, connectivity, multiscreen and video experiences.
The decision to give Ericsson Media Solutions a life of its own, with new investors, was made about 18 months ago. One Equity Partners, a private equity firm with deep expertise in media and telecom investment, will have the majority share in the new company when the deal is finalised. The MediaKind name will, of course, survive the change of ownership.
Angel Ruiz believes the standalone company has everything it needs to be successful in a consolidating market, thanks to its product portfolio, a healthy R&D budget and the cash that will be available to it. He made little effort to conceal the expectation that MediaKind will make M&A investments of its own, noting the importance of scale.
“There is not a market where we have more than 12% market share; the market needs consolidation,” he said. “Ericsson saw that, and wanted to be in front of that [curve].” The CEO pointed out that One Equity Partners has performed lots of acquisitions. He described them as a private equity firm with a long-term outlook. “They tend to hang onto their assets longer than most private equity firms do.”
MediaKind says its mission is to ‘lead the future of global media technology and be the first choice for service providers, operators, content owners and broadcasters looking to create and deliver immersive media experiences for everyone, everywhere’.
Ericsson Media Solutions is already a standalone business inside Ericsson and is built upon a number of acquisitions that started with TANDBERG Television. These included Envivio, Microsoft Mediaroom, Azuki Systems, Aspex, Fabrix and HyC Group. Including its post-TANDBERG M&A investments, Ericsson has spent $3 billion on what is now MediaKind.
The deal to sell 51% of Ericsson Media Solutions to One Equity Partners was announced at the end of January. Key executives for the new company, who are already in place, include Mark Russell, Chief Technology & Strategy Officer, Gowton Achaibar, COO & Head of R&D and Misty Kawecki, Chief Financial Officer. CEO Ruiz spent 15 years heading Ericsson in North America prior to this appointment.
Arun Bhikshesvaran, Chief Marketing Officer at MediaKind, comments: “Media unites us all and MediaKind is uniquely positioned to drive the human entertainment experience forward for everyone, everywhere. We have the right technologies, an outstanding team and deep media know-how – a combination that will enable us to provide the leadership our customers need during a period of great transformation to a new multi-screen, on-demand and immersive world of entertainment.”
You can see the company’s new website at www.mediakind.com