The first quarter of 2017 included our annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for the 50th annual CES. What a year for the show, with more than 180,000 visitors, over 4,000 exhibitors including 600 startups and a whopping 134 million views of the CES Snapchat live story. In addition to familiar topics including smart home, wearable technology and digital health, the show featured the latest in robotics, autonomous vehicles, and augmented/virtual reality. No longer just consumer electronics, but truly consumer technology.
One of the biggest pieces of industry news in the first quarter was the deal that didn’t happen…the failed $2 billion acquisition of U.S.-based television manufacturer Vizio by China-based LeEco. Numerous issues plagued that transaction including information rights and the buyer’s own financial condition as well as a veil of capital protectionism from China. However, the sector did experience other notable transactions, including the sale of D+M Group (the world’s largest supplier of audio and video receivers) to Sound United, a portfolio company of Boston-based Charlesbank Capital Partners and a surge in lighting sector transactions as Legrand and Philips both made noteworthy purchases and AEA Investors completed the acquisition of Visual Comfort (an ARTS Award-winning lighting manufacturer) for $630 million. Following Intrepid’s successful sale of Luminance in 2016, we are expanding our coverage of the lighting sector.