Chinese media report that GDC Technology is selling a 36% stake in GDC Technology Limited (British Virgin Islands) currently held by GDC Technology Limited (Cayman Islands) to Appotronics for USD $18.2 million. Appotronics is one of the four join venture partners in Cinionic, together with Barco, China Film Co. and CITICPE. The company is best known for its laser projectors for the home and corporate (but not cinema) markets under the ALPD brand. This means that the company now has a portfolio investment that covers both cinema laser projection and media servers.
Earlier this year GDC Technology carried out a management buy-out when Huayi Bros sold its 90.5% stake in GDC Technology for USD $55 million. This would value the GDC Technology at USD $60.225 million, meaning that a 36% stake would be worth USD $21.68 million, but Appotronics paid even less than that, effectively getting a 16% discount on the most recent valuation of the company. GDC Technology faced questions earlier this year about the involvement of its technology in China’s greatest ever film piracy ring in the Ghost No. 1 case.
There are indications in the article that the GDC deal could see Appotronics enter the cinema projector market. “The acquisition of GDC light peak technology, will take the development of power GDC’s complete range of media services is the product of technical strength, to build advanced products –C5 laser film projector.” While the Google translation is ambigious, there are more details later in the paragraph confirming the cinema intentions. “As a laser display hard core technology product, C5 gives GDC’s theater management system a hard core carrier, allowing GDC to land on the market perfectly; GDC’s theater management system provides C5 with a built-in driver for theater management functions.”
The last paragraph also makes clear the intention of GDC’s technology to form the core of the integrated media block (IMB) and server technology of a Appotronic cinema laser projector.
Industry insiders pointed out that the acquisition of GDC provides industrial synergy support for Guangfeng Technology’s [Appotronics’] laser display hardware, which is conducive to deepening the layout and upgrade of Guangfeng Technology’s cinema projector light source and the entire machine industry, expanding Guangfeng Technology’s [Appotronics’] overseas sales channels, and gradually promoting it.
As well as selling IMBs, servers and theatre management systems, GDC is also server vendor partner of Samsung’s Onyx LED cinema direction view display technology. Barco meanwhile has its own Cinema LED deal with China’s Unilumen, for which it paid USD $59 million for a 5% stake in September of this year, though it has not publicly discussed this deal. It all makes for complicated cross-ownerships and joint venture ambitions in the world’s largest cinema market (by screen count), as well as beyond China.