November 16, 2018 / 8:22 PM / a month ago

Digital media company Technicolor explores options including sale: sources

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Technicolor SA (TCH.PA) has been exploring options that include a full or partial sale of the French digital media company, as its set-top box business struggles because of higher prices for memory chips, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

A deal would represent the biggest shakeup for the company, based in Issy-les-Moulineaux, since it agreed in March to sell its profitable patent licensing business to U.S. wireless technology provider InterDigital Inc (IDCC.O) for $475 million.

Technicolor has been in discussions in recent months with other companies and private equity firms, including Bain Capital, about a sale of the company or a merger with a peer, the sources said.

Technicolor has also been exploring a sale of just its set-top box division, which it calls connected home, the sources said. One of the sources said the company received non-binding offers for that unit earlier this month.

Connected home accounted for 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion) of Technicolor’s total revenue of 1.77 billion euros in the first half of 2018.

The sources cautioned that no deal is certain and asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

Technicolor, which trades on France’s Euronext and has a market value of 503 million euros, declined to comment. Bain Capital did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Technicolor operates two main divisions, entertainment services and connected home. The entertainment services business helps provide the visual effects seen in movies and commercials, as well as Blu-ray and DVD manufacturing.

In 2015, Technicolor acquired Cisco Systems Inc’s (CSCO.O) set-top box business, a $600 million deal intended to boost its presence in the home entertainment market and expand its North American footprint.

But the bet soured as higher input costs weigh on Technicolor’s set-top box business. Passing these costs on appears difficult given the strong bargaining power of its larger customers and competition in the equipment sector, credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc said in a note earlier this year.

Technicolor’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation from continuing operations fell 30 percent year-on-year in the six months to the end of July to 57 million euros.

Reporting by Pamela Barbaglia in London and Liana B. Baker in New York; Additional reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic in Paris; Editing by Leslie Adler

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