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HDTV companies Brillian, Syntax to merge

Posted: 14 Jul 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lcos? syntax groups? hdtv?

Struggling Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) microdisplay supplier Brillian Corp. has agreed to acquire Syntax Groups Corp., a privately-held supplier of liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs, in a stock transaction.

Brillian will acquire all outstanding shares of Syntax, with each share of Syntax to be exchanged at an initial exchange rate of 1.6195 shares of Brillian. Shareholders of Syntax will own about 70 percent of the fully diluted shares of the combined company with Brillian's shareholders holding the remaining 30 percent.

The combined company is expected to leverage Brillian's strength in LCoS high-definition TVs and components with Syntax's strength in LCD TVs. Syntax is ranked as the third largest supplier of LCD TVs in North America with a 7 percent market share, according to DisplaySearch Inc., and is considered one of the top ten suppliers of LCD TVs worldwide.

At first glance, the merger appears to be a curious combination as LCDs and microdisplays are often viewed as competing technologies for large TVs. But given Brillian's difficulties in establishing itself as a microdisplay-only supplier, the move is necessary for the company's survival.

Brillian has struggled financially since being spun off from Three-Five Corp. as a separate company two years ago. The company has been unable to get second-generation LCoS technology developed for a 65-in. HDTV into volume production.

Production delays have caused cancellations of supply agreements. In its most recently completed quarter, Brillian saw its losses widen.

Brillian hopes to gain firmer financial footing by expanding its product scope and leveraging the channel strength, global supply chain capabilities and services of Syntax. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2005, Syntax had revenue of approximately $90 million, three times that of the previous fiscal year.

Vincent Sollitto, president and chief executive officer of Brillian, will serve as chairman and CEO of Syntax-Brillian. James Li, Syntax's current CEO, will be the company's president and chief operating officer. The board of directors of the combined company will include four members of Brillian and Syntax management.

"The proposed merger with Syntax Groups will strengthen our offering substantially by marrying our technology strength with Syntax Groups' outstanding channel strength and global supply chain infrastructure," said Soliito in a statement. "Together, we offer both our partners and customers an even more compelling solution for HDTV and digital consumer electronics products. We believe TFT-LCD will dominate the sub-50-inch screen size arena and LCoS will dominate the 50-inch-plus, rear-projection TV arena."

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2005.

- Spencer Chin

EE Times

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