Ballantyne of Omaha Inc., the Nebraska-based supplier of motion picture projection and followspot equipment, has acquired Xenotech, the North Hollywood, CA-based manufacturer and distributor of high-intensity searchlights and lighting systems. Terms were not disclosed.

The sale marks the first phase of an acquisition strategy initiated by Ballantyne in the wake of Ronald Echtenkamp's appointment as vice chairman in March to oversee its execution.

Richard Hart, Xenotech's founder and sole proprietor, has signed a long-term employment agreement with Ballantyne, whereby he will continue directing the company's sales and rental efforts from its new facilities in North Hollywood. Xenotech will largely continue as it has in the past.

"They've been very cooperative in telling us the reason this works for them as well as us is that we've been doing a real good job and they want us to continue," says Hart. "I think this will allow us to improve our marketing ability and the ability to deliver product on a global scale."

The acquisition seems like a good fit for both parties. Ballantyne manufactures commercial motion picture projection equipment used by some of the major chains, including AMC, Cineplex Odeon, and Regal Cinemas; the company also makes specialized equipment used by themed entertainment companies such as Disney, Universal Studios, Imax, and Iwerks. Xenotech's products have been found in everything from movies (Independence Day) to Super Bowl half-time shows to the Luxor and Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. "In many ways, Xenotech is a mirror image of Ballantyne," says John P. Wilmers, president and CEO of Ballantyne.