Grass Valley sells transfer equipment biz

Development teams will stay together after sale

AMSTERDAM -- Grass Valley is getting out of the high-end digital film postproduction equipment business.

A unit of France-based Thomson, which is also the parent of Technicolor, Grass Valley manufactures professional tools for the media and entertainment markets. Its corporate headquarters are in Nevada City, Calif., but its film scanners and other products are developed and built in Germany.

The company revealed Wednesday that it is selling its digital film transfer equipment business -- a plan that had been rumored -- to private investors led by Parter Capital Group, a German private equity advisory firm. The sale includes its popular Spirit film scanners, as well as Bones digital intermediate tools and LUTher color space management product. The deal will include 172 Grass Valley employees. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Parter's Dr. Rudiger Terhorst said, "We want to assure the market that we will be keeping those Grass Valley development teams together to continue their impressive work. The ongoing development of uncompromised digital film-scanning tools such as the Spirit line is extremely important."

"It enables us to better focus our efforts to bring to all markets -- including the very important postproduction sector -- innovative products that deliver creativity and efficiency," said Jeff Rosica, senior vp of Thomson's broadcast & professional solutions business unit, who emphasized that Grass Valley would remain in postproduction with other tools such as its Edius editing software.

The transaction is expected to close in late October when the digital film post technologies will be spun off into a new international company with headquarters in Germany.