LED maker sold to Chinese firm

Published on 12/03 2015  Source: China Daily USA


A Chinese LED systems company that has acquired an Oregon digital signage company for $157 million is looking to expand its global reach.
Leyard American Corp, an American subsidiary of Beijing-based Leyard Optoelectronic Co. Ltd, has acquired Hillsboro, Oregon-based Planar Systems Inc for $6.58 per share.
Planar will suspend trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market and delist its stock with the closing of the merger, which was announced on Nov 27.
"The management team of Planar and I are excited about the potential offered to our employees, customers and partners from this merger," Gerry Perkel, president and CEO of Planar, said in a statement to China Daily.
"The combined strengths of the company are vast and span technology innovation, product leadership, customer relationships, brand and geographic reach. Our management team at Planar is focused on the growth opportunities and how to best leverage the potential as we move forward," he said.
Planar Systems sells display and digital signage technology, which is used in control rooms and digital marketing. Last year, it reported $179 million in revenue.
Leyard Optoelectronic, founded in 1995, produces and distributes LED display products around the world, which are used in malls, stadiums, advertisements and other indoor and outdoor events. The company reported a 104 percent net profit increase year over year in the third quarter, attributing it to an increase in purchasing orders.
"We believe that Planar and Leyard complement each other and that this acquisition will create significant synergies. We intend to strongly support the continued growth of the Planar business, with standalone management, under the broader Leyard umbrella," said Victor Li, chairman of Leyard, in August when it was first announced that Planar had agreed to be acquired.
"This acquisition demonstrates Leyard's ongoing commitment to expanding its global presence. The combination of Planar's strong customer relationships, respected product offerings, and history of innovation across the organization, together with Leyard's market leading position in emerging video wall technologies, create inspiring solutions for customers," he added.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch served as financial adviser to Planar. Roth Capital Partners LLC advised Leyard.
With the merger, Planar will keep its brand name, its Hillsboro headquarters, and about 250 of its 320 employees in Oregon. Planar has offices in Shanghai and Taipei, Taiwan.
Planar was established in 1983 when its founders broke away from electronic-equipment maker Tektronix to create the company, which went on to make a digital messaging device for the US Army that included electroluminescent display technology. The company holds 32 patents; customers include Nike, Google, Microsoft and AT&T.
The company has struggled in the last decade due to a decline in the electronic display market in the state, according to the Oregonian.
The global market value for LED displays is expected to reach $15.7 billion in the next five years, according to Persistence Market Research.