Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group today announced a Carlyle-led consortium, including Yunfeng Capital, has closed the acquisition of an approximately 80% stake in GDC Technology (GDC Tech), Asia’s largest cinema digital server provider, from its existing shareholders.
The investment was led by Carlyle Asia Growth Partners IV, a US$1 billion fund targeting high-growth companies. Dr. Man-Nang Chong, founder of GDC Tech, will continue to lead the company as CEO and remain a significant shareholder. The new shareholder will continue to support GDC Tech’s growth strategy and accelerate its penetration of digital movie screens in Asia and around the world. Further details of the transaction were not disclosed.
GDC Tech was founded by Dr. Man-Nang Chong in Hong Kong 12 years ago; it has since developed into a global player with its products and systems distributed to more than 20 countries globally and an established presence in the U.S., China, Europe, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. With more than 11,000 installed servers as of September 2011, GDC Tech ranks second globally, based on publicly disclosed installed servers worldwide.
Emerging markets, led by China, are expected to experience the fastest growth in digital movie theatres with faster adoption of new movie technologies, faster upgrade and shorter replacement cycles, outpacing the rate of digitalization in most developed markets. According to a recent study by Entgroup Consulting, an entertainment research group, China’s cinema digitalization level is as high as 70%. GDC Tech is well positioned to further capture this exponential growth in cinema digitalization. GDC Tech believes it is China’s largest digital cinema server provider with more than 4,500 installed servers representing a 54% market share and Asia’s largest player based on its more than 6,800 installed servers.
“We are honored to join the Carlyle family,” said Dr. Man-Nang Chong, Founder and CEO of GDC Tech. “Carlyle’s investment will accelerate our global market expansion and further enhance our customer network. Carlyle has a strong presence in the media and technology sector. We will be able to leverage its resources and relationships to further expand our business, strengthen our R&D efforts, grow in new markets, and develop partnership and business opportunities with and beyond Carlyle’s current portfolio of companies.”
Wayne Tsou, Managing Director and Head of Carlyle Asia Growth Capital group, said: “GDC Tech’s sustained development, market leadership and strong management team inspired our confidence in the company’s adaptable expansion model and high growth potential. We are excited to play an enabling role in the global cinema digitalization by supporting GDC Tech and Dr. Chong. We look forward to contributing our experience in the media sector and Carlyle’s global network of relationships to accelerate the growth of the company.”
The worldwide movie exhibitor industry has been rapidly moving towards digitalization since 2009. There are an estimated 150,000 movie screens in total on a worldwide basis. The digitalization of worldwide screens has grown from 11% as of end of 2009 to 25% as of first quarter of 2011, according to Screen Digest.
GDC Tech was previously majority owned by GDC Holdings, a listed company in Hong Kong.