Been thinking about this Barco/High End deal ever since they announced it two weeks ago, but between Infocomm, a short visit to Ohio, and throwing my back out (it's hell getting old) I'm only just now putting some thoughts together.
High End's impending sale has been probably one of the worst kept secrets in the industry for a while now. The only mystery was which potential buyer was going to win the day. There were many suitors lining up for this marriage, and in the end, it was the one with the biggest dowry. I heard that Barco offered much more than the other players in this, which shouldn't be surprising, given its size and scope.
It's been a fascinating development in many ways, but now that it's a done deal, I have a feeling the next year or so will be equally fascinating, especially when it comes to the integration of the two corporate cultures.
As we all know, High End is in many ways the personification of the independent American company: a couple of guys puttering about in a garage, creating an innovative and marketable product, and always, always, doing things their own way. And even though they had been purchased by a holding company several years ago, they still in many ways retained that rock and roll spirit. Barco, on the other hand, is a large, publicly traded European entity, very methodical in the way it conducts business. The company's sheer volume enables it to do things smaller companies simply can't.
All of which has led some in the industry to believe that there will be some epic internal personality clashes ahead as this relationship progresses.
Or will it?
Sometimes the most effective relationships are those between opposites, who both know each other strengths and cede ground to the other accordingly. Sometimes you need both the left and the right side of the brain working at the same time in order to be truly effective. Sometimes two very different entities come together to create something truly unique.
I'm getting hungry at the thought.