DTS, Inc. announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire iBiquity Digital Corporation, the developer of digital HD Radio technology for AM/FM audio and data broadcasting for approximately $172 million. DTS expects to finance the transaction through a combination of cash on hand and debt.
According to DTS, the acquisition will combine “businesses with similar and compelling IP licensing models driving diverse recurring revenue streams and high gross margins” and expands “DTS’ leading suite of high definition audio solutions with iBiquity’s extensive patent portfolio and strong customer relationships in automotive and radio broadcast”. DTS also states that its own global licensing platform combined with iBiquity’s HD Radio technology will provide geographic and market expansion opportunities in automotive, home and mobile and could “drive strategic and financial synergies”.
Originally formed by the merger of USA Digital Radio and Lucent Digital Radio, with the goal of creating an in-band on-channel (IBOC) digital radio system for the United States and around the world, iBiquity Digital is the exclusive developer and licensor of HD Radio technology, the sole FCC-approved method for upgrading AM/FM broadcasting from analog to digital.
HD Radio technology provides compelling benefits, including improved audio quality, expanded content choices and new digital data services such as album cover art and real-time traffic updates. iBiquity’s partners include leading automakers, consumer electronics and broadcast equipment manufacturers, radio broadcasters, semiconductor and electronic component manufacturers and retailers.
In particular, iBiquity has very successfully driven penetration of HD Radio technology in the North American automotive OEM market. Every one of the 36 major auto brands serving the U.S. market offers HD Radio technology on some of their vehicles, many as standard equipment. The Company’s technology was built into approximately 35% of cars sold in the U.S. in 2014, and DTS expects the majority of North American vehicles to come equipped with HD Radio technology over time. The combination is also expected to provide opportunities for additional geographic, service and technology expansion.
“DTS has long been at the forefront of the highest quality audio technology, and we saw a similar spirit at iBiquity, which identified an opportunity to revolutionize traditional AM/FM broadcasting and is now strongly positioned to capitalize on broadcast radio’s ongoing digital upgrade,” said Jon Kirchner, chairman and CEO of DTS. “This transaction extends our strategy of delivering a personalized, immersive and compelling experience across the network-connected entertainment value chain, and complements our existing suite of technology and content delivery solutions while enabling us to strengthen our position in the large automotive OEM market. Consumers have come to expect a higher quality sound experience in their car, and we believe there is a tremendous opportunity for DTS to capitalize on the upgrade to HD Radio technology as cars are increasingly equipped with screens and advanced entertainment systems. We are thrilled to welcome the talented iBiquity team to the DTS family.”
“We are excited to join forces with DTS, a true pioneer in high definition audio,” said Bob Struble, president and CEO of iBiquity. “In DTS, we have found a like-minded partner and we look forward to bringing our breakthrough HD Radio technology to the DTS portfolio of solutions. Today’s announcement is an exciting step forward for our employees and customers, who will benefit from the additional scale and enhanced resources of a larger collective company.”
iBiquity Digital Corporation is a privately held company based in Columbia, Maryland with approximately 120 employees. After closing, Bob Struble will continue to lead the HD Radio business for DTS. The transaction is expected to close later in 2015 and is subject to customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to be accretive beginning in 2016.
hdradio.com | www.ibiquity.com