Patience has apparently paid off for video production and distribution company Omneon, and for its investor Accel Partners. Harmonic, a publicly traded video delivery company, announced today that it is acquiring Omneon in a cash and stock deal totaling $274 million in net enterprise value.
That comes 12 years after Accel first invested in Omneon. The company raised a total of $95.2 million over that time. Accel partner Peter Wagner (pictured) declined to specify how much of that money came from his firm, but he said Accel has been the lead investor for the entire time. And he didn’t give any details about the return, except to say that Accel was happy with the results.
There have been some bumps getting here, he said. The first few years were tough, with Omneon struggling to find customers due to an uncertain distribution model, and also having to recapitalize. But things started picking up in late 2002 and early 2003, when the company landed a few high-profile customers. Even then, it wasn’t smooth sailing to an exit — the company filed for an initial public offering, but never made good on that filing given the inhospitable market for IPOs.
“This is one of those great stories of the determination of management — and some patient venture investors,” Wagner said. “So many times you hear about impatient investors, but this is quite the opposite.”
Omneon and Harmonic fit well together because they can offer a comprehensive video service, he added. Omneon provides production and distribution tools to media companies like BBC, BSkyB, and Turner, while Harmonic helps companies like Comcast deliver that video to viewers.
“This is an opportunity to build that next generation digital media company,” Wagner said. “We’re shareholders to a certain degree, through the stock components, so we’re excited about that.”
In sharing the news, Accel also noted that this is part of a recent string of exits, with two IPOs (Qliktech and IronPlanet) in the works and more than 25 acquisitions and IPOs in the past four years.
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