NEP To Buy Corplex, Retain Engineering and Support Staff
NEP Broadcasting has added yet another company to its growing stable of remote-production facilities, announcing a definitive agreement to acquire Corplex. One of the industry’s largest fleets is now three trucks larger, with NEP acquiring the Chicago-based company’s trio of HD trucks — Chromium, Iridium, and Platinum — when the deal is officially consummated on or around Dec. 17.
“We have shared clients on some of the largest shows in the industry for a long time, so it was a natural move,” says Mike Fernander, president/GM, NEP U.S. Mobile Unit Division. “When you see the compounds at the biggest events, we are usually parked next to each other, so I would certainly hope that the [integration of the two companies] will be seamless. That is certainly the expectation.”
The deal provides NEP with three of the most robust mobile units in the industry, all of which regularly work major national telecasts for network clients. Meanwhile, Corplex gains the stronger financial stability and technical resources that NEP offers as one of the largest remote-production vendors in the industry.
“The great part of this deal is that we have already been working together with them for years on shows for CBS, Turner, and many other clients,” says Corplex President Scott West. “We’ve worked closely with the NEP Supershooter trucks, NCP, their ESU [signal-distribution trucks] in big compounds. Plus, we have a great relationship with their employees. So there really is no integration from that standpoint; it’s essentially old hat for us.”
The Corplex brand will remain intact under the overarching NEP umbrella, similar to the NCP, Sweetwater, and Trio Video brands, which were retained after being acquired by NEP in recent years.
In addition, NEP will bring aboard Corplex’s engineering and support staff, including top execs West, VP of Engineering Dave Greany, VP of Sales Joe Scionti, and CEO Carter Ruehrdanz. Fernander sees Greany and his engineering team as an integral part of the acquisition, calling him a “unique innovator” who is “going to be a tremendous complement to our engineering and design team.”
The Corplex announcement marks the second major acquisition in just eight months for NEP, which purchased Chicago-based mobile-unit provider Trio Video in March. Once the Corplex acquisition is finalized, NEP plans to consolidate Trio and Corplex operations at Corplex headquarters in Lake Bluff, IL. However, the two brands will remain wholly separate from a client perspective.
Despite the recent acquisitions, Fernander stresses that NEP is not in the midst of an acquisition frenzy.
“We are trying to enhance our capability to take care of our clients. That is what it comes down to,” he says. “But there is in no way an active strategy to go out and gobble up all the mobile-unit companies in the country. I don’t want anyone to think that, because it’s really not the case. This was a very strategic decision that made sense for our clients.”
West seconds that notion: “I’m sure there is a perception that this is just a big company getting bigger. Yes, it is true they are getting bigger, but the senior management team has also been very interested in our thoughts and ideas of how we can put things together. We are very excited about the opportunity to access their resources, and they are excited about what we have to offer. They have not come in and said, this is how it is going to be. They have consistently asked us for our ideas and plans on how to move forward.”
In terms of operations, Corplex trucks will continue to service its largest and most high-profile clients. The trio of trucks will, however, begin to work additional NEP-contracted shows as well.
“The key clients and relationships that Corplex already has are going to make up the bulk of their core work,” says Mike Werteen, VP of Sales, NEP. “But there will also be a few NEP, NCP, and Trio clients that will have the opportunity to use the Corplex trucks when available. Right now, we are just focusing on living up to the responsibilities that [Corplex] has with their clients, and we will go from there.”