Red Bee ripe for sale as kit maker relaunches it as an independent subsidiary

Ericsson on Thursday revived the Red Bee brand for its media division and relaunched it as an independent subsidiary, a move that will no doubt make it more attractive to potential buyers.

U.K.-based Red Bee Media was one of a slew of acquisitions Ericsson made in a bid to bolster its broadcast services division. The deal was announced in 2013, and completed in mid-2014.

In March this year, Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm signalled his company’s retreat from the TV business, announcing a strategic review of the Broadcast and Media Services unit as part of a major restructuring aimed at focusing more closely on networks, OSS/BSS and IoT.

The relaunched Red Bee Media is now classed as an independent business fully owned by Ericsson, with operations in nine countries spread across three continents. Headquartered in the U.K., it employs 2,500 staff worldwide. The rebranding applies from today.

"The Red Bee Media brand has a long and rich heritage in TV and media and is well recognised across the industry," said Steve Nylund, formerly head of Ericsson Broadcast and Media services, and now the new CEO of Red Bee Media. "Adopting this brand will enable us to strengthen our position as an independent and agile media services organisation. It will provide the basis for our business, our people and our clients to unify around a shared identity that represents our purpose, brand positioning and values."

Thursday’s announcement is likely aimed at making Red Bee Media an obvious acquisition target.

Ericsson has already made clear that it doesn’t consider broadcast and media as an integral area of business, and a report in June claimed the company had hired banks to manage the sale of these assets.

With a new brand, and the emphasis on independence from Ericsson, it is surely only a matter of time before a buyer is found.