GN Audio announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Altia Systems Inc (“Altia Systems”), a Cupertino, Calif-based company that develops video communications solutions utilizing digital, multi-camera array technology. The products from Altia Systems are currently marketed under the brand PanaCast.

GN Audio is a developer of “intelligent audio solutions” for the CC&O (call center & offices) market, operating under the Jabra and BlueParrott brands. GN Audio professional headsets and speakerphones are designed to help businesses achieve productivity improvement, enhancing job satisfaction and helping to enable people to work smarter and more efficiently. 

The acquisition of Altia Systems will allow GN Audio to expand into integrated audio and video communications solutions, supporting companies’ collaboration and meeting efficiency. GN Audio is currently positioned in the Unified Communications market with the Jabra Evolve line of headphones and leadership in speakerphones for small meeting rooms and personal use with the Jabra Speak line of products. Adding video capability to these positions gives GN Audio access to the market of integrated audio and video solutions for small collaboration rooms, so-called “huddle rooms.”

The total purchase consideration is up to USD $125 million on a debt and cash-free basis. As part hereof around USD $12 million is linked to retention agreements to be expensed by GN Audio during 2019-2021. 

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement to acquire Altia Systems,” said René Svendsen-Tune, President and CEO of GN Audio “The acquisition further strengthens our unique value proposition by delivering leading integrated audio and video communications. Combining GN Audio’s sound expertise, partner ecosystem, and global channel access with the video technology from Altia Systems, we will take the experience of conference calls to a completely new level.”

“Combining PanaCast’s immersive, intelligent video with GN Audio’s intelligent audio solutions will enable us to deliver a whole new class of collaboration products for our customers,” said Aurangzeb Khan, President and CEO of Altia Systems. “PanaCast’s solutions enable companies to improve meeting participants’ experience, automate workflows, and enhance business efficiency and real estate utilization with data lakes of valid information.”

“Intel invested in Altia Systems to bring an industry leading, immersive, Panoramic-4K camera experience to business video collaboration,” said Dave Flanagan, Vice-President of Intel Corporation and Senior Managing Director of Intel Capital. “Over the past few years, Altia Systems has collaborated with Intel to use AI and to deliver more intelligent conference rooms and business meetings. This helps customers make better decisions, automate workflows, and improve business efficiency. We are excited to work with GN to further scale this technology on a global basis.”

In recent years, GN has built a track record of acquisitions. In October 2016, GN Audio acquired VXi, a US-based manufacturer of professional headset solutions. In July 2016, GN Hearing completed the acquisition of Audigy, a provider of business and performance management solutions to independent hearing care professionals and university programs in North America. In May 2018, GN Audio acquired a majority stake in Innova Telecom, a  distributor in India. In June 2018, GN invested in a partnership with audEERING, the German AI technology company focused on soundscape and voice analyses.

Altia Systems, which was founded in 2011, will, under GN Audio’s ownership, initiate global commercialization of its highly differentiated current products as well as invest in its exciting product pipeline. More that 1,600 companies, including more than 200 universities, are said to use PanaCast products around the world. Current customers reportedly include Intel and Uber. Altia Systems is a venture-backed company with Intel Capital as a leading investor. An identified group of key people from Altia Systems will continue to lead the Cupertino-based development activities following the transaction. 

The agreement to acquire Altia Systems is contingent on certain customary closing conditions.

The acquisition will not have a material impact on GN Store Nord or GN Audio’s underlying financials in 2019, according to the announcement. Transaction related costs of up to USD $7 million, as well as a portion of the retention agreements, will be expensed by GN Audio in 2019. GN Audio’s financial guidance for 2019 will be communicated in connection with the release of the annual report on February 27, 2019. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to GN Audio’s financials from 2020.

Source: GN Audio