April 21, 2005
Thomson Acquires Cirpack, the European Leader in Softswitch Solutions
Following the acquisition of Inventel, Cirpack complements Thomson’s offering in telecoms
Paris, France - April 21, 2005 – Thomson (Euronext 18453; NYSE: TMS) has acquired CIRPACK, the European leading provider of softswitch platforms. Following the acquisition of Inventel on March 29, 2005, CIRPACK’s softswitch technology expertise complements Thomson’s existing offering to telecoms operators in Internet Protocol (IP) telephony and triple play (voice, video, data).
Created in 1998, CIRPACK, a private company based near Paris funded by Siparex Ventures, Iris Capital and Endeavour L.P., employs approximately 60 people and more than doubled its revenues between 2003 and 2004. CIRPACK addresses the voice management market which is poised to expand at a very high growth rate in the coming years. With a wide European customer base of over 45 telecom operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the company has secured the largest share of the European softswitch market.
Telecom infrastructure is undergoing profound changes as it moves to next generation network technologies. A softswitch is the software platform responsible for controlling call processes in the network, as well as managing remotely access devices and service applications. It is key to helping telecom operators drive voice, data and video convergence in IP networks, in order to allow effective delivery of innovative communication and entertainment services.
The acquisition will complement Thomson’s existing offering in IP telephony, remote management and access products and gateways for triple play services. It is the logical extension of the acquisition of Inventel, a European leader in home gateways for fixed broadband network operators and in wireless voice and data communications (DECT, WiFi, Bluetooth). The integration of CIRPACK will also bring significant synergies in term of customer base, particularly with ISPs (important Cirpack clients) and Tier-1 European telecom operators (important Thomson and Inventel clients), and with telecom operators in North America and Asia.
The acquisition cost is in line with Thomson’s acquisition criteria. As in the case of Inventel, and under similar one and two year lock-up provisions, Thomson has given the opportunity for managers of CIRPACK (advised by Arma Partners), who are its majority shareholders, to receive most of their consideration in Thomson treasury shares. To maintain its buy-back program, Thomson will purchase over time in the market an amount of shares equivalent to that contributed in this transaction (estimated at 2 million shares). The CIRPACK acquisition will be accretive.
CIRPACK will be part of Thomson’s Access Platforms & Gateways Business Unit within the Systems & Equipment Division. This Business Unit is the world leader in access products and solutions to satellite, cable and terrestrial operators worldwide. It offers a broad range of telecom systems and equipment such as voice products, high-speed DSL modems, IP video boxes and multiple-play gateways.
“An aggressive expansion of our business with telecom operators is a key pillar of our Two-Year Plan. With this important client base, the combination of Thomson’s existing strengths, enhanced triple-play system expertise, and products and technologies developed by Inventel and CIRPACK, enable us to reconfirm our objectives with full confidence,” said Frank Dangeard, Chairman & CEO of Thomson.
About Thomson - Partner to the Media & Entertainment Industries
Thomson (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS) provides services, systems, and technology to help its Media & Entertainment clients – content creators, content distributors and users of its technology – realize their business goals and optimize their performance in a rapidly changing technology environment. The Group intends to become the preferred partner to the Media & Entertainment Industries through its Technicolor, Grass Valley, RCA and Thomson brands. For more information: www.thomson.net