Big deal: Vislink and Mobile Viewpoint bosses discuss the acquisition and benefits for both businesses
This week Vislink announced that it had acquired Mobile Viewpoint. The deal has gone through for a healthy €15.5 million ($18.3 million), and will see both businesses cross-selling into each other’s customer bases, as well as continued investment in Mobile Viewpoint’s innovative portfolio.
Speaking to SVG Europe about why the deal was made, Mickey Miller, CEO at Vislink, says: “We have a fundamental thesis around the connected edge and that everything will be connected at some point, and it will be connected through many means, whether its through proprietary COFDM networks like we’ve had traditionally, microwave, or bonded cellular; 5G as well as WiFi.
“We believe that the company that was able to provide all these different solutions and integrate [them] would be in a great position. Currently no other company does it; today you’re either bonded cellular or you’re proprietary. No one has both capabilities. We feel both are needed to be able to fulfil the needs of where the market is headed.”
Live internet video traffic is growing fast, from 2016 to 2021, there was a 15-fold increase in live video internet traffic (71.9% CAGR)[Global – 2021 Forecast Highlights, Cisco]. Adds Miller: “We don’t see that ending any time soon, so we want to be able to take advantage of that and be able to bring more live content to viewers around the world.”
Match made in bonded cellular
On how Vislink found Mobile Viewpoint, Miller says his company was looking at various bonded cellular companies around the world, and reached out to Bais. Notes Miller: “[Michel] has built an incredible company, bootstrapped it from scratch, it’s been profitable every year, it’s been growing, customer’s love their innovation, customers love the fact they’ve had so many ‘firsts’, and we thought their entrepreneurial culture worked well with ours. We felt that their history for innovation lined up where we are and where we want to go, so we started talking and the more we got to know each other and our teams, it became clear to us that it would be great to be part of.”
Michel Bais, managing director of Mobile Viewpoint, a subsidiary of Triple IT Corporate, comments: “We were looking already for some time for a partner to help grow the company, especially a partner also in the same business as we are, that we could leverage and make the most of their sales network. We are very good at making products and we have very good innovations, but we have a limited sales team.
“The question was, what are we going to do? Are we going to invest and get money to build up ourselves, or are we going to join a company that already has it? The last one was our preference because it’s quicker.
“Vislink came by, I was interested, then I introduced Mickey and Vislink to Triple IT,” Bais continues. “The process can take some time, but everyone understood the opportunity, of course. I’m really happy with it; this is what I asked for and I got it in the end!”
The Mobile Viewpoint acquisition will provide Vislink with solutions that combine with Vislink’s existing solution set to make its Connected Edge video transport concept of utilising ubiquitous IP networks and cloud-scale compute across 5G, WiFi6, Mesh and COFDM-enabled networks a reality.
Vislink and Mobile Viewpoint Connected Edge solutions will leverage IP networks to provide their customers low latency, high capacity ultrafast live video transport that can utilise artificial intelligence (AI) to automate workflows. With this acquisition, Vislink will have all the hardware and software solutions needed to acquire, produce, contribute and deliver video over all private and public networks.
Miller says that there is very little overlap between Mobile Viewpoint’s and Vislink’s products, customer bases and geographies. The deal will bring Mobile Viewpoint into the US market through Vislink’s customer base, as well as providing ample opportunities for each companies customer bases to benefit from new products.
Bais says his customers are already showing interest in what the acquisition means for them: “We already have customers phoning us up, saying, “oh, interesting that you now have Vislink, because we’re doing projects offering your equipment and [we want] COFDM stuff”, which I didn’t have in the portfolio before, but now I have it! So it’s going very fast now and it shows that combined together we can do more business than we do today.”
Miller adds: “We can bring innovation to not only [Mobile Viewpoint’s] traditional customers in sports entertainment, but through our 150 partners in sports entertainment, media, as well as government and first responder markets.”
Continuing investment in innovation
Vislink raised $50 million earlier this year and more in 2020, and it will invest some of that capital in key areas of Mobile Viewpoint’s business – which are yet to be identified – so it can continue to be innovative.
Bais will remain at the head of Mobile Viewpoint, and the company will retain its own brand going forwards. Comments Miller: “Mobile Viewpoint has a great reputation in the market so we want to leverage that. Over time, particularly as we are a public company, we want to make sure that when Mobile Viewpoint does have announcements that [it’s seen to be] part of the Vislink brand. Mobile Viewpoint [as a brand] will remain in some form or another; we wouldn’t wipe that out with Vislink because the brand is recognised and respected in this industry around the world.”
The deal is comprised of a €14.8 million stock purchase agreement and the assumption and payment of €700,000 in intercompany debt.