Daktronics Inc. of Brookings, SD, announced last week the acquisition of substantially all the operating assets of Hoffend & Sons Inc., of Victor, NY. Hoffend & Sons is considered one of the world's leading designers and manufacturers of theatre and arena rigging systems and scoreboard hoist systems.

The purchase of the operating assets, which includes the patented Vortek® technology, further strengthens Daktronics' position in the sports industry with the most complete, integrated video, scoring, and display systems. It also brings to Daktronics the ability to expand its product offering to existing customers, with a sophisticated rigging system for theaters, auditoriums and athletic venues.

Hoffend & Sons recently introduced its patented Vortek® theatre rigging system, developed specifically to replace commonly used counterweight rigging systems, which were originally developed more than a century ago. The Vortek® system is a complete, ceiling-to-floor system, including the hoist unit, blocks and battens, and automated control center. The Vortek® system provides greater safety by eliminating the need for crews to climb ladders and catwalks as well as eliminating the need to handle heavy counterweights above the stage. It also allows for much quicker scene changes, takes significantly less space than traditional counterweight systems, and reduces construction costs for new theatres.

"Daktronics has worked with the Hoffend team and their products for nearly a decade, primarily on sports projects that required robust and safe scoreboard hoist systems," notes Jim Morgan, president and CEO of Daktronics Inc. "Our sports customers have for many years demanded Hoffend hoist systems to complement our centerhung scoring and video systems. Hoffend hoist systems include the latest technologies with sophisticated safety features," he adds, “In addition to the benefits to us from the purchase of an important supplier, we expect significant growth in sales of the Vortek theatre rigging technology to our existing customers, which we expect will include many elementary, middle and high schools, as well as high profile theatre venues where we currently supply displays for outdoor marquee signs and displays for other locations."

"We like the sophisticated design of the Vortek system, the proprietary patented technology, and the ease of installation and operation, which we believe will make the Vortek system the preferred solution for theater rigging. We are looking forward to working with the Hoffend team to grow the business. The business will continue to be based in Victor, NY, near Rochester," Morgan comments.

"We've known and worked with Daktronics for a number of years, and are pleased to be able to join an industry leader with a great reputation," says Peter Hoffend, President of Hoffend & Sons.

"With Daktronics engineering foundation, financial strength, marketing experience, and management backing, we are well positioned to market and deliver our new Vortek technology to the theater industry," adds Scott Seeman, COO of Hoffend & Sons.