Au Revoir, Thomson – Bonjour, Technicolor
Remember Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453)? The French media technology company that's a player of note in the set-top box, home networking, and IPTV/VoD sector?
Well, no need to remember the name any more, because it's been changed to... Technicolor. (C'est vrai!)
The change is all part of the company's plan for a fresh start after a troubled 2009.
The vendor got itself into a real financial hole in the past few years, leaving CEO Frederic Rose -- who joined from Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) in 2008 and also became Thomson's chairman in April 2009 -- with little choice but to turn the company on its head, cut costs, put units up for sale, and restructure its debts. (See Thomson Negotiating Grass Valley Sale, Thomson Gets a Reprieve, Thomson Revamps, Tackles Debts, and Thomson Nabs AlcaLu Exec for CEO Role.)
That process ended in the company initiating sauvegarde proceedings (similar to bankruptcy protection) in December 2009. The company's shareholders and creditors have agreed to Rose's restructuring plan, which will see its debt reduced from €2.84 billion (US$4 billion) to €1.55 billion ($2.2 billion). (See Creditors Approve Thomson Plan and Thomson Debt Plan OK'd.)
And when the vendor emerges from sauvegarde, set for some time in Février, it will be called Technicolor (a name that Thomson had previously used for just part of its business). The company is already using the new brand, and its ticker on the NYSE Euronext Paris stock exchange will change from TMS to TCH on Monday February 1. The stock is currently trading at €1.01.
While the French firm is looking to sell some parts of its extensive media technology empire -- which generated revenues of €2.6 billion ($3.64 billion) during the first nine months of 2009 -- it's retaining its cable and DSL modems and home gateways; set-top boxes (for cable, telecom, satellite, and terrestrial TV service providers); IPTV middleware and video servers; and even its Cirpack VoIP equipment line (softswitches, session border controller). (See Thomson Unlocks DSL Gateways, Thomson Fires Up Fiber Gateways, Thomson Intros EuroDocsis 3.0 Gear, Thomson Posts Q3, Thomson Intros SBC, Orange Uses Thomson's HD STB, Comcast to Deploy Thomson Gateways, and Comcast 'HomePoint' Debuts in Florida .)
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading