Technicolor SA

This article is about the French multinational corporation. For the film processing trademark of the same name, see Technicolor.
Technicolor SA
Formerly called
Thomson SARL
Thomson Multimedia (1910–2010)
Traded as Euronext: TCH
Industry Creative industries
Founded 1893 (1893) (as Thomson)
Headquarters Issy-les-Moulineaux, France
Key people
Frederic Rose (CEO)
Didier Lombard (Chairman)
Revenue €3.449 billion (2013)
€92 million (2013)
Number of employees
14,639 (2012)

Technicolor SA, formerly Thomson SARL and Thomson Multimedia, is a French multinational corporation that provides services and products for the communication, media and entertainment industries. Technicolor's headquarters are located in Issy-les-Moulineaux  France.[1] Other main office locations include Rennes (France), Los Angeles (California, USA), Edegem (Belgium), London (England, UK), Bangalore (India), and Indianapolis (Indiana, USA).

On 27 January 2010 the company changed its name to Technicolor SA, re-branding the entire company after its American film technology subsidiary.[2] Thomson's US subsidiary became Technicolor USA, Inc.[1]


Technicolor began as Thomson, named after the electrical engineer Elihu Thomson, who was born in Manchester, England, on March 26, 1853. Thomson moved to Philadelphia, USA, at the age of 5, with his family. Thomson formed the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in 1879 with Edwin Houston. The company merged with the Edison General Electric Company to become the General Electric Company in 1892. In 1893, the Compagnie Française Thomson-Houston (CFTH) was formed in Paris, a sister company to GE in the United States. It was from this company, that the modern Thomson Group would evolve.

In 1966, CFTH merged with Hotchkiss-Brandt to form Thomson-Houston-Hotchkiss-Brandt (soon renamed Thomson-Brandt). In 1968 the electronics business of Thomson-Brandt merged with Compagnie Générale de Télégraphie Sans Fil (CSF) to form Thomson-CSF. Thomson Brandt maintained a significant shareholding in this company (approximately 40%).

Business changes

In 1982, both Thomson-Brandt and Thomson-CSF saw nationalization due to the efforts of François Mitterrand. Thomson-Brandt was subsequently renamed Thomson SA (Société Anonyme), and soon thereafter merged with Thomson-CSF. GE then sold the rights to make RCA, ProScan and GE-branded televisions and other consumer electronics products in 1988, to Thomson Consumer Electronics, in exchange for some of Thomson's medical businesses. In 1988, Thomson Consumer Electronics was formed, and then renamed Thomson SA. In 1995, the French government split the consumer electronics from the defense businesses of Thomson Multimedia and Thomson-CSF prior to privatization in 1999. The company then went through a series of transactions, including with Marconi plc, before becoming Thales in 2000. In 2005, Thomson bought Cirpack and Inventel.[3]

In 2004, Thomson set up a joint venture (TTE) with China's TCL, giving to TCL all manufacturing of RCA and Thomson television and DVD products and making TCL the global leader in TV manufacturing (Thomson still controlled the brands themselves and licensed them to TTE). At the time, TCL was hailed as the first Chinese company to compete on the international stage with large international corporations. Thomson initially retained all marketing of TTE's products, but transferred that to TTE in 2005. In June 2005, the Videocon Group of India announced, that it would acquire the color picture tube manufacturing business from Thomson SA for €240 million. In early 2010, Thomson sold TV brand RCA to ON corporation.

In December 2007, Thomson SA agreed to sell off its Audio/Video and Accessories businesses (the RCA and Thomson brands except communications products such as cordless phones) to Audiovox. On October 2007, Thomson SA agreed to sell its consumer electronics audio video business outside Europe including the worldwide rights to the RCA brand.

In 2000, Thomson Multimedia purchased Technicolor from Carlton Television (owned by Carlton Communications) in the U.K. and began a move into the broadcast management, facilities and services market with the purchase of Corinthian Television, becoming Thomson Multimedia until 2002 and acquiring the Grass Valley Group. Thomson then purchased the Moving Picture Company from ITV and the internet startup Singingfish, but then sold it to AOL in late 2004. In 2004, Thomson increased its stake in the Bangalore, India based company Celstream Technologies, which specializes in product engineering. Cirpack, a softswitch manufacturer, was incorporated and acquired in April 2005. In July 2005, Thomson agreed to purchase PRN Corporation for $285 million. In December 2005, Thomson re-purchased the Broadcast & Multimedia part of Thales Group.

In September 2005, Thomson first showed its Infinity camcorder. At the April 2006 launch, this was described as "a new line of IT-based acquisition, recording and storage devices."[4] It was designed to end the stranglehold of proprietary products in this market and was inspired by Grass Valley's then VP of Marketing Jeff Rosica's trip to Fry's Electronics in Burbank to buy a computer backup device.[5]

However, on 29 January 2009, Thomson announced its intention to sell the PRN and Grass Valley businesses to focus on services business and improve its financial position.[6] This was one of the consequences of an enormous financial crisis in 2009, which forced the company to a total financial restructuring to avoid bankruptcy.[7] From 2010 to February 2011, "Technicolor" (having rebranded itself) divested these sub-businesses: Grass Valley and Broadcast to the Francisco Partners in July and December[8] along with the Transmission business to PARTER Capital Group; Head-end to the FCDE (Fonds de Consolidation et de Développement des Entreprises), and reintegration of PRN.[9]

On 20 June 2012 Vector Capital won a competitive bid for a minority stake in Technicolor,[10] beating JP Morgan with a surprise, last-minute bid.[11] With the investment of €167 - 191 million, Vector Capital will retain a minority stake in Technicolor of up to 29.94%.[12] Following the deal, on 21 June 2012, Technicolor named Remy Sautter as Chairman of the Board and appointed two Vector Capital representatives to the board, Alexander Slusky and David Fishman.[13]

On 3 July 2012 the Technicolor broadcast services division was acquired by Ericsson .

On 10 June 2014 Technicolor announced the acquisition of Toronto's leader VFX studio Mr. X Inc. The same year the company also shut down its final film lab.[14]

On 25 February 2015 Technicolor acquired the French independent animation producer OuiDo! Productions. On 23 July the same year, Cisco Systems announced the sale of its television set-top box and cable modem business to Technicolor for $600 million—part of a division originally formed by Cisco's $6.9 billion purchase of Scientific Atlanta.[15][16] The deal was closed on 20 November that year.[17]

On 15 September 2015 Technicolor acquired London-based visual effects leader in advertising The Mill for €259 million.


  1. Cohen, David S. (January 26, 2010). "Technicolor reinventing itself". Variety.
  2. "Thomson Acquires Cirpack, the European Leader in Softswitch Solutions". April 21, 2005.
  3. David Tamés. "NAB 2006: Camera Wrap-up". CreativePlanetNetwork.
  4. "A conversation with John Naylor". Kino-Eye. April 28, 2006.
  5. "Thomson to Sell Grass Valley". January 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-29.
  6. "Technicolor Company Profile". Hoovers.
  7. "PE Firm Makes Binding Offer for Grass Valley". 27 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
  8. "Technicolor sells head-end business to FCDE, keeps PRN". 24 Feb 2011.
  9. David Benoit (25 Jul 2012). "Vector Capital beats J.P. Morgan in Technicolor wildness". Wall St. Journal.
  10. "Vector Capital wins Technicolor deal". Wall St. Journal. 20 Jun 2012.
  11. "Technicolor's general shareholders meeting approves the capital increases proposed by vector capital". 20 Jun 2012.
  12. Georg Szalai (21 Jun 2012). "France's Technicolor gets new chairman, seals deal to sell stake to US firm". Hollywood Reporter.
  13. The Triumph of Digital Will Be the Death of Many Movies
  14. "Technicolor to Buy Cisco's Set-Top Box Unit for About $600 Million". The Wall Street Journal. July 22, 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  15. "Technicolor to acquire Cisco Connected Devices Division for €550m in stock and cash". 23 July 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  16. "Technicolor Completes Acquisition Of Cisco Connected Devices Division". 20 November 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
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