Thomson to sell Grass Valley to manage debt
Paris-based Thomson SA said during an earnings call earlier this week that it plans on selling assets, including Grass Valley and PRN, as part of an effort to reorganize the company.
Thomson CEO Frederic Rose said the company will focus on film and television production going forward. Thomson’s net debt as of Dec. 31 was 2.1 billion euros. Thomson’s fourth-quarter sales dropped 8.4 percent to 1.5 billion euros.
PRN makes in-store media screens used in more than 6,400 retail outlets worldwide. Grass Valley Group, which Thomson bought in 2002, manufactures routers, servers and editing products. Together, Grass Valley and PRN accounted for approximately 1 billion euros of sales in 2008.
“Today we announce the refocusing of our business on content creators, leveraging our technological expertise and our positioning with network operators,” Rose said. “Strengthening our balance sheet is the precondition to implementing this strategic framework.”
Thomson is in danger of breaching a financing arrangement and has asked its bondholders to seek an early repayment while the company reorganizes. Thomson has hired PriceWaterhouseCoopers to review the potential value of its assets.