IBM, Harmonic join consolidation frenzy with Clearleap, Thomson Video Networks acquisition moves

Efforts to consolidate the online video delivery segment kicked into a higher gear as technology giant IBM acquired cloud-based video services provider Clearleap. Meantime, video infrastructure provider Harmonic made a binding offer to acquire 100 percent of France-based Thomson Video Networks for $75 million.

By acquiring Clearleap, IBM is moving in line with other large-scale technology companies including Amazon, which purchased Elemental Technologies for $500 million in cash in early September, and Ericsson, which snapped up Envivio just a week later for $125 million.

Terms and financial details of the IBM-Clearleap deal were not disclosed.

The two companies said that Clearleap's cloud-based video technologies will be integrated into the IBM Cloud. "The Clearleap video platform is optimized for massive scalability, which enables clients to ramp up and support millions of concurrent users within seconds to support special events," IBM said in the release. That could help the venerable technology company compete with other tech giants that are increasingly relying on cloud services to bolster their bottom line, particularly Microsoft with its Azure services.

Harmonic, in the meantime, has offered Thomson Video Networks $75 million in cash with up to $15 million in post-closing adjustments. The offer was made in the form of a "put" option, which enables selling shareholders to exercise the option, if they decide to do so, following consultation with TVN's employee works council in France. The companies expect to close the deal in the first quarter of 2016.

Thomson Video Networks adds another element to Harmonic's video delivery portfolio and will boost the company's presence worldwide: TVN has quietly provided encoding and compression services to a number of video services, not just OTT but pay-TV providers worldwide. Moreover, less than 50 percent of the two companies' customers overlap, opening both to new opportunities.

"At a time of great change for video content and service providers, the proposed transaction would improve Harmonic's position as an exceptionally reliable source of innovative video technology that enables delivery and monetization of amazing new video experiences for the consumer," Harmonic President and CEO Patrick Harshman said in a release.

For more:
- see the Harmonic release
- see the Clearleap release
- see this TV Technology article

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