Konica Minolta to buy Mobotix

Newest player in security plans to collaborate with Mobotix on next gen security solutions
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

TOKYO—Meet the newest outsider to enter the security industry: Konica Minolta, a $9 billion provider of office equipment and optical systems, has signed an agreement to acquire video surveillance provider Mobotix.

Konica Minolta today announced an agreement to purchase 65 percent of Mobotix shares from company founder Ralf Hinkel. Konica and Mobotix plan to collaborate and use their proprietary technology to develop “next-generation network security solutions,” Konica said in an announcement.

Mobotix did not immediately responded to requests for an interview by Security Systems News. However, Mobotix did announce that Hinkel “will stay in the supervisory board and will continue the strategic development of Mobotix."

Based in Langmeil, Germany, Mobotix did about $90 million in sales in FY2015. Founded in 1999, it has 400 employees and offices in New York; Madrid, Spain; Paris; Tokyo and Syndey, Austrailia. All of its products are manufactured in Germany.

Based here, Konica Minolta has 41,600 employees and does business in 150 countries. Twenty-three percent of its 2015 sales were in North America, 33 percent in Europe, 24 percent in Asia and other and 20 percent in Japan.

Known for its decentralized processing IP cameras, Mobotix has a large presence in Europe. It began a push to expand its presence in North America a few years ago.

Asked about the deal, Ray Coulombe, founder of SecuritySpecifiers.com and an entrepreneur, noted that Konica will be joining Canon, Hanwha Techwin (formerly Samsun Techwin), Panasonic and other "consumer companies putting a stake in the ground in the security marketplace, capitalizing on their economies of scale and deep pockets of technology."

In its announcement, Konica Minolta said it wants to develop “next-generation decentralized network security solutions by leveraging its industrial optical systems, including the 3D-LiDAR … and MOBOTIX’s decentralized processing IP cameras and VMS.”

Konica Minolta said it would develop new products “for monitoring residents at nursing care homes, or the solutions for monitoring workflow at manufacturing facilities that can help their workflow innovation.”

It also said it will use its global direct sales network and after-sales support and services systems to increase sales for Mobotix.

Coulombe noted that Mobotix’s sizable presence in Europe may be of particular interest to Konica given the “border issues and … other security concerns in the European marketplace.”

He also said Konica should definitely bring Mobotix “economies of scale," and developing new technologies using proprietary technologies from Konica and Mobotix could produce some compelling new products. However, "you can have the jazziest, sexiest technology out there, but you still have the market challenge of working through the security channel to push the product into the market. The proof will be in the pudding," he added.

IHS Research’s Jon Cropley, said the deal should not have a major immediate effect on the systems integration market in North America.  “The implication for security systems integrators in North America  is expected to be limited to Mobotix cameras soon being available from new sources,” he said.  

Alper Cetingok, managing director of Raymond James, surmised that the deal may have been propelled, in part, by “the pressure of seeing their competitors aggressively getting into the [physical security] business.” He also told Security Systems News that “consumer electronics businesses are aggressively pursuing commercial (i.e. enterprise) strategies because of the continuing commoditization and margin erosion of the consumer electronics marketplace.”

In an email interview, Ayako Doi of Konica Minolta corporate communications in Tokyo, told Security Systems News: “With Mobotix technologies, Konica Minolta will be well positioned to develop solution services business that can bring values for customers from sensing, scanning and analyzing images and other big data.”

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright announced that it advised the majority shareholder of MOBOTIX AG on the sale of its block of shares to Konica Minolta.