Streaming is the name of the content game these days, and now one of the companies that is building the technology to do it from anywhere in the world is being acquired. LiveU – whose satellite / cellular hardware and software for capturing and broadcasting live streaming and broadcast video is used by more than 3,000 major media organizations – will be acquired by private equity firm Carlyle, according to several sources at TechCrunch, worth over $ 400 million.
LiveU is based in Israel, and the agreement was reported as under construction by the local press. Our sources indicate that the acquisition is in the final stages of closing and could be announced today or tomorrow. A spokesperson for LiveU declined to comment on the story and a spokesperson for Carlyle did not respond to a request for comment.
What is notable is that this is the second time that LiveU has changed hands in the space of two years: the company was previously acquired by Francisco Partners, another PE firm, for au $ 200 million.
The rapid jump in valuation, which has more than doubled in 25 months, is in part due to the huge surge in interest we have seen in video content.
It wasn’t that long ago that you were only watching live video on TV, using a limited set of broadcast channels. Now we have live, near-live, or on-demand moving images coming to us from all over the place. On-demand and live streamed videos can be found on apps (both those dedicated to streaming and those that feature it alongside other content like YouTube, Facebook, etc.) and websites; and not just televisions, but phones, tablets and computers. Today it has become the main means of informing and entertaining people and represents over 80% of all IP traffic.
So it makes sense that a company developing a technology to make the process of capturing and delivering that video easier, cheaper, and at a higher quality level gets the attention. (LiveU has been used for many high profile coverage, from tennis championships until Derek Chauvin trial.)
The other reason for the rise, it seems, is that LiveU itself has grown through an acquisition of its own. Earlier this year he acquired its distribution partner in the UK market, Garland Partners, for an undisclosed amount, to get closer to its clients in the region. One of our sources noted that this consolidation made it possible to focus both on the acquisition of LiveU and on its valuation.
It is not clear if there were other bidders interested in the business at the same time as Carlyle, but the private equity firm has been a fairly active buyer and growth stage investor over the course of the period. past year, which has been exciting for funding in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting changes in consumer and business behavior.
Other acquisitions in Europe (particularly in the UK) have included 1e, a UK-based hybrid work start-up, in a deal valued at 1e at $ 270 million; and the Jagex games company for about $ 530 million. Meanwhile, investments have included a $ 200 million in participation in South Korean mobility-as-a-service startup, Kakao Mobility. LiveU appears to be its first deal in Israel.
Israel has been a great benefactor of this activity. Avihai Michaeli, Senior Investment Banker and Startup Advisor based in Tel Aviv. estimates that startups nationwide have collectively raised $ 11 billion in the first six months of 2021, and that number has already risen to $ 12 billion to date. PE firms are a regular buyer of Israeli outputs, he said, “to improve them from within, then sell them for even higher value.” Other examples include the acquisition of MyHeritage by Francisco Partners in February for around $ 600 million.
We’ll update this story as we learn more.