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Control4 Acquires Leaf for $9M; Adds High-End A/V to Home Automation Portfolio

Home automation manufacturer Control4 acquires Australia-based Nexus Technologies Ltd. (Leaf), which makes high-performance A/V distribution products for residential and commercial markets.


Control4 acquires Leaf on the eve of CES 2015
Julie Jacobson · February 5, 2015

Control4 (Nasdaq: CTRL) just got serious about high-performance audio/video distribution, acquiring Australia-based Nexus Technologies Ltd. (dba Leaf) for $9 million in cash.

Control4 believes the acquisition will be neutral to Q1 2015 earnings and “moderately” accretive to full-year 2015 earnings ona non-GAAP basis.

Control4 has offered a few of its own mulitroom audio systems and amps, along with an 8x8 HDBaseT matrix switch for video. But the company has largely ceded the higher-performance, larger-capacity jobs to other manufacturers, many of which are Control4-certified partners.

Speaking with CE Pro yesterday in a pre-briefing for ISE 2015 (before the acquisition was announced today), Control4 marketing SVP Susan Cashen told CE Pro the company was “deepening our relationship with Leaf. We will be selling all of their products.”

Control4 has an online marketplace where it sells products from multiple partners direct to authorized dealers, but had sold only a limited number of Leaf products.

The expanded partnership, said Cashen, would help Control4 “compete more aggressively for very large A/V installations.”

In particular, the acquisition puts Control4 in a good position vis-a-vis Crestron, which dominates the higher-end multizone A/V distribution market with its DigitalMedia line of A/V switching products.

In addition, AMX (mostly active in the commercial sector) also has a robust offering in the A/V distribution category. Savant, Elan, Clare Controls, RTI and URC all have their own multiroom A/V systems as well.

Leaf makes video matrix switches in configurations of up to 20x20 (sources x displays).

The company (formerly known as Leaf Audio) also has A/V switches up to 10x10 supporting both analog and digital audio.

Most recently, Leaf introduced one of the first HDCP 2.2-compliant 4K Ultra HD A/V switches to hit the market. It was demonstrated at CEDIA 2014 last September and will be highlighed at ISE 2015 in the Control4 booth.

Control4 is on the acquisition trail. About three months ago, the company acquired Extra Vegetables, which made (and continues to make) Control4 drivers for third-party subsystems like Leaf’s switchers. Control4 acquired EV for for $882,246 in cash, including a base purchase price of $675,000 and $207,246 as payment for EV’s net working capital.

Here is the Control4 press release issued today:

Control4 Acquires Leaf, a Leading Distributed Audio/Video Provider
Transaction Immediately Enhances Control4’s Range of Audio/Video Entertainment Solutions

Salt Lake City, UT — February 5, 2015 — Control4 Corporation (NASDAQ: CTRL), a leading provider of home automation and control solutions, today announced the acquisition of Nexus Technologies, Ltd. (Leaf), an Australia-based provider of audio/video distribution products. Control4 had previously sold selected Leaf products to its North American dealer network.

Through this acquisition, Control4 is now in a position to offer a broader array of Leaf products to Control4 distribution partners throughout the world, gain market share in the growing A/V category, and leverage Leaf’s valuable engineering expertise to develop new and innovative A/V entertainment solutions.

The acquisition of Leaf demonstrates Control4’s continued commitment to provide its end customers and authorized independent dealers with the best products and the most choice for smart home-owners desiring comprehensive, multi-room audio and video entertainment. With the Leaf product line, A/V content from any source can be enjoyed on any TV within the home, rather than needing separate dedicated sources for each television, such as cable boxes, satellite receivers and streaming devices.

Whether a family wants to enjoy music or a movie in just the family room or kitchen, or in multiple rooms throughout the entire home, Control4 now has a comprehensive line of A/V media distribution products for a broad range of installation configurations and budgets.

“Leaf’s established product line and continued innovation investments position our combined company at the forefront of distributed HD video,” said Martin Plaehn, Control4 Chairman and CEO. “Offering the entire Leaf product line to our network of independent dealers will introduce the benefits of distributed video content to many more homeowners around the world, and by combining our engineering talent, we can accelerate the development of new entertainment experiences for our customers.”

Control4 acquired Leaf for approximately $9 million in cash on January 30, 2015. Control4 expects this acquisition to be neutral to Q1 2015 earnings and moderately accretive to full-year 2015 earnings on a non-GAAP basis.

The Leaf product development team in Melbourne, Australia will work together with Control4 engineering teams in Salt Lake City and San Jose to create industry-leading, high-fidelity media delivery and automation solutions.

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JULIE JACOBSON
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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics


News · Control4 · Leaf · All Topics
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