EXCLUSIVE: Harris sell off: MESA VP speaks

Said Bacho on the big Harris Broadcast divestment announcement.
News, Broadcast Business


Harris Broadcast’s VP for MESA, Said Bacho, has spoken to Digital Studio exclusively about plans to divest the broadcast arm of Harris Corporation, as reported on DPME.com earlier today.

Bacho commented: “Harris Corporation has various businesses in various sectors including defence, communications, government, and of course broadcast. It’s core businesses have always been communications and government, while the others have been important contributors. With the new CEO coming on board in November and the board looking at long term strategy for investment in those core businesses it was decided to separate the non-core businesses out from the core.

This means they’ve already sold off the cyber integrated solutions business a couple of months ago, and now broadcast will be allowed to flourish with a different ownership model, either as an independent entity or as part of an existing media or broadcast organisation.”

Bacho insists, however, that customers and dealers need not worry, as little will change in reality: “For customers and dealers nothing changes in our day-to-day activities,” he says. “The scale of the broadcast business on its own is already bigger than many of our competitors, so there is nothing to fear there – everything carries on as normal.

“Our Middle East Roadshow still kicks off in Dubai next week before travelling all around the region, and if anything we expect even bigger crowds on the back of this announcement – you can’t get much better exposure! We’re also currently looking for three new broadcast engineers for our Dubai office, and everything carries on as normal.

“The only minor change is that we will now start reporting our performance figures separately from the rest of Harris Corporation so potential buyers can see what they are buying.”

It seems unlikely that this announcement has come totally from the blue, and I ask Bacho whether there may be potential buyers already waiting in the wings: “Parties have expressed interest in the past,” he says. “And I’m sure others may have been in touch since this announcement. I’m confident there are potential buyers out there, though I can’t disclose who or when that might take place right now.

“What is really important is that customers know that until that transaction takes place nothing changes and we remain part of Harris Corporation.”

Another big issue could arise with the use of the Harris name – it’s a huge one in the industry, with massive sponsorship deals with the likes of IBC and a presence in many of the world’s biggest installations, and I enquire as to whether IP questions may arise between Harris Corp and any prospective new owner: “The brand is, of course, very well known and the Harris name has been a key one in the industry for many years, especially in this region. Depending on what comes out of negotiations, the branding will obviously be on the table and part of the procedure and discussions around price. It’ll certainly be discussed with new owner as it’s a huge name internationally and regionally. All in all though, I think this is a really positive step for the broadcast side of the business and will allow us to flourish and grow even more independently.”

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