Canon to acquire Milestone Systems

Following in the line of major M&A moves within the video surveillance industry during first two quarters of 2014, Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, has announced Canon Europe has signed an agreement to acquire Denmark-based Milestone Systems A/S, among the world’s leading providers of open platform video management software, via its subsidiary Canon Europa N.V.  The new combination will create a formidable player in the fast growing network video surveillance market by combining the strengths of Canon’s innovative imaging technology with Milestone’s best-in-class video management software expertise.

This acquisition parlays the recent merger of Vicon and IQinVision and Costar Technologies’ acquisition of CohuHD, along with QEOS’s buyout of Centric Technologies.

Canon has a clear ambition to drive future growth through diversification and has identified network video surveillance as a strategic new business area.  Bringing Milestone into the Canon Group will significantly enhance Canon’s software capabilities in this sector.

Rokus van Iperen, President and CEO, Canon Europe, Middle East and Africa, explains:  “Canon is aiming to take a leadership position in network video surveillance and we are making an important strategic investment today to realize our objective to expand in this market.  Together with Milestone, we can accelerate our growth by delivering new advanced products and solutions for new sectors, through new channels, to offer greater customer value.  We are very excited about working with such a talented and innovative company and we welcome Milestone into the Canon Group.”

Lars Thinggaard, President and CEO, Milestone Systems: “Milestone is extremely excited about the huge potential that being part of a global group will provide. Canon respects how we built our business with our partners and supports our strategy of providing open platform solutions and therefore the need to remain a standalone company within the Canon Group. We feel this step is right for taking both our business and support for suppliers and partners to a new level.”

Jon Cropley, a principal analyst for IHS Inc says that Canon is currently a small player in the video surveillance market but it has big ambitions. Back in August 2013 its CEO, Fujio Mitarai, spoke about security cameras becoming an “important pillar” for the company and the market having “limitless possibilities for growth." This acquisition shows that Canon is serious in its intentions.

“Canon is a strong brand in the consumer electronics market. It is well-known as a supplier of digital cameras, camcorders and professional broadcast cameras. It plans to leverage this brand reputation in the video surveillance market”.

Cropley adds that when it comes to surveillance, Canon currently only sells security cameras. The acquisition of Milestone allows it to offer customers a security solution combining cameras and either video management software or network video recorders. It also provides the company with access to Milestone’s large customer base, particularly in regions outside of Canon’s home market of Japan. IHS estimates that Milestone was the largest supplier of video management software in 2013 with over 7 percent of a global market worth over $900 million.

‘‘Canon and Milestone will create a formidable team in the fast-growing surveillance market by leveraging the superior imaging technology of Canon with the market leading VMS of Milestone. Canon is number 3 in the world for patent registrations which further indicates their interest in innovation, so this move to include Milestone’s intellectual assets is a smart one,” says Karl Erik Traberg, head of corporate communications and development for Milestone. ‘We will continue to provide our open platform solutions to the market, and Canon will take appropriate measures to safeguard the confidential information of our many partners – the foundation of our successful open platform business. Milestone will be able to greatly accelerate our business and development of new products as a standalone company, through access to Canon’s global resources and market presence. We can both expand into each other’s’ channels and industries of strength.”

Milestone is a world leader in video management software, with strong consultancy and training services and a major focus on innovation. This creates strong synergies with Canon’s customer focus and R&D culture.  As part of the Canon Group, Milestone will be able to accelerate its business and development of new products. In addition, Milestone will be able to use Canon’s business and consumer channels to expand its global market presence.

Milestone’s successful Open Platform business model is essential to its future success and Milestone will continue to provide open platform solutions to the market, while operating as a standalone company within the Canon Group.  Canon fully supports Milestone’s open platform strategy and respects their strong partnerships.

Following the completion of the acquisition, Milestone’s management will remain in place and they are committed to making the transition a success.

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