Perkel: Leyard Brings Planar Opportunity for More Broad Product Innovation

Integrators can expect little change outside of an expanded portfolio post acquisition by Leyard, says Planar CEO Gerry Perkel.

Tom LeBlanc

It has been an eventful couple of weeks for Planar Systems.

On August 6 the Beaverton, Ore.-based display manufacturer announced in its Q3 2015 earnings results that digital signage sales are up 19 percent to $25.3 million representing 60 percent of its total revenue and reinforcing Planar’s leadership role in emerging categories such as digital signage and video walls.

Then on August 12, it announced that it is being acquired by Beijing-based LED display manufacturer Leyard Optoelectronic Co. with a purchase of all Planar common stock at $6.58 per share totaling about $156.8 million.

I think integrators can expect to see everything they’ve grown to love about their relationship with us and even more as our portfolio expands,” says Planar CEO Gerry Perkel.

The latter news won’t have an effect on the former, according to Planar president and CEO Gerry Perkel, who tells CI “our R&D strategy will remain the same. We’ll continue to drive innovative products and continue to drive innovation as we always have.”

Perkel emphasizes that the acquisition will not have an effect on Planar’s integrator dealer base. He will remain at the helm of the same Planar executive team. If anything, he adds, Planar dealers will benefit from a more broad product portfolio as a result of Leyard, a major supplier of fine-pitch LED video wall technology.

“I think there will be a broader portfolio over time,” he says, “but the people [integrators] work with, the technical team, the support team back here—that will continue to be the same.  I think integrators can expect to see everything they’ve grown to love about their relationship with us and even more as our portfolio expands.”

Related: Planar Acquired by Leyard for $157 Million

Planar currently outsources a portion of its manufacturing to Asian facilities, but “a number of our products are assembled and configured ourselves in Oregon,” Perkel says. “I don’t’ expect that to change.”

Until the expected close of the merger, Planar and Leyard will continue as separate companies. Once the transaction is final, Planar will be a stand-alone company under Leyard’s umbrella.

In general, Perkel says, “there are some real similarities to the companies in that both have established successful businesses in their home countries” and there are opportunities for global expansion. “They have done well in China and not expanded much outside.” Therefore there are complementary opportunities for growth.

“I’ve very excited about the potential that this combination can bring to us,” Perkel adds.

“I think our integrators and partners will be able to see all of that as we move forward and after the transaction is closed.”

Planar’s press release on the acquisition