Is Barco Buying Unilumin? I Believe It’s Just a Matter of Time 

Barco just announced a strategic collaboration with Unilumin, a listed Chinese company that’s an LED manufacturer. Barco says it’s engaged in a wide-ranging partnership with Unilumin to secure a supply of LED display components, which allows broader penetration in its core markets with differentiated Barco LED visualization hardware and software solutions. But, isn’t it logical they will just buy them, eventually?

As part of this collaboration agreement Barco confirms its intent to acquire a minority stake of 5% into Unilumin through a share transfer.

Since its foundation in 2004, Unilumin has been one of the largest suppliers of LED display products and is in 160 countries.

Over the past couple of years, LED has started to find its way as high-end visualization solution in some of Barco’s core market segments. The evolution unveils a sizeable untapped potential adding distinct addressable market opportunities in markets such as control eooms, ProAV and other vertical market segments. The international collaboration with a key manufacturer like Unilumin offers Barco the capability to address this rapidly developing opportunity with cost-effective offerings and state-of-the-art technology.

At the same time, this partnership enhances Unilumin’s opportunity to broaden its geographic market and access new applications for their leading technology, while also leveraging Barco’s technology and experience in LED. Barco’s CEO commented today: “Barco’s heritage includes some of the most impressive customized LED installations all around the world,” says Jan De Witte, CEO of Barco. “However, LED technology continues to develop at a rapid pace and starts to open up interesting opportunities in mainstream markets in the Entertainment and Enterprise segments. With this partnership we are strengthening our global competitive play as we further expand the hardware component of our ‘hardware + software + services’ proposition towards our target markets.”

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Both companies will also combine their competences and work together in the development of innovative technologies and new products. While Unilumin has the capability and the knowhow to produce large volumes of quality LED products, Barco’s LED image processing platform guarantees unprecedented results in every situation.

“Barco is our route to the high-end market offering access to a broader and more global audience,” adds Mingfeng Lin, CEO of Unilumin. “In addition, this cooperation also allows us to leverage Barco’s image processing capabilities in LED solutions. Both companies are convinced that the mutual recognition of each other’s strengths will result in a win-win opportunity and a long-term beneficial partnership for everyone involved, including the customer.”

Barco and Unilumin have signed a strategic partnership agreement, supply agreements and a joint development agreement that governs the collaboration between the partners.

In addition, Barco plans to buy shares of Unilumin from Unilumin’s majority shareholder and CEO Mingfeng Lin, for an amount of approximately € 54 million ($60 million USD) in order to obtain a minority stake of 5%. Both parties expect the share-acquisition transaction to be closed as soon as possible, pending regulatory approvals.

This values Unilumin at $1.2 billion USD. Unilumin is here.